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Versailles Travel Guide

Known for its opulent royal château, the city of Versailles is equally marvelous and well worth exploring for a weekend.

About Versailles

Often considered the quintessential day trip from Paris (just 12 miles away by car), the city’s glittering architectural masterpiece, the Château de Versailles, takes center stage. However, while the palace is certainly the jewel in the crown of its lush surroundings, Versailles has much more to offer. Steeped in history, it boasts an inviting maze of winding avenues, exquisitely manicured gardens, quirky antique shops and charming cafés. It is also an excellent base from which to explore nearby Rambouillet, the majestic grounds of its château and its forest teeming with wildlife and wonder. Things move at a more refined, gentler pace here, away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, which makes it a wonderful destination for a long weekend break.

Things to do in Versailles

Of course, no trip to Versailles is complete without visiting its extravagant palace. Aim to go early to admire its astonishing decor before the bulk of the crowds descend. While on the palatial grounds, stroll over to the Trianon Estate — home to the pink marble colonnades of the Grand Trianon and mesmerizing geometric flower beds. The Petit Trianon, a mini-château that Marie-Antoinette was deeply fond of, is also located here.

In addition, you can spend time discovering the Hameau de la Reine (“Queen’s Hamlet”) and relish in its total tranquility. This postcard-pretty village features quaint, thatched cottages, a working dairy and a windmill set around a miniature lake. The Queen commissioned this area in order to escape courtly life for a restful retreat.


Palais de Versailles

The awe-inspiring splendor of the Château de Versailles — the principal royal residence until 1789 — must be explored in all its golden, shimmering beauty. Be sure to visit the Galerie des Glaces (“Hall of Mirrors”) to be amazed by the resplendent vision of gilded statues, twinkling chandeliers and 357 mirrors. The palace also has a wide range of events throughout the year, including classical concerts, fireworks and a magnificent, grand masked ball in the summer.

Place d’Armes 

The Royal Stables

Across from the palace, in the horseshoe-shaped yard of the Grande Écurie (“Great Stables”), take a look at this coach gallery and its collection of ornate carriages, including those belonging to Marie-Antoinette’s children. Free to enter and only open in the afternoons (closed on Mondays), this little museum is an excellent way to spend an hour after seeing the château.

The Palace Gardens

These labyrinthine gardens — a labor of love by iconic landscape designer André Le Nôtre which took nearly 40 years to complete — are open daily and free to the public, except when the impressive musical garden and fountain shows take place, accompanied by baroque music.

With almost 2,000 acres to explore, the gardens are as vast as they are elaborate.  The friendly guides over at Fat Tire Tours ( know this better than anyone, and offer informative and fun visits by bike so you can cover the most ground possible. Finish off the afternoon with a romantic boat trip on the Grand Canal. 

Domaine de Madame Elizabeth

Stepping into the estate of Madame Élisabeth is akin to feeling worlds away from the city, despite its central location. Learn more about the fascinating story of the youngest sister of Louis XVI, who was given the grounds as a gift by the king when she was 19 years old.

73 avenue de Paris, Versailles

Musée Lambinet

This former 18th-century hôtel particulier (“private mansion”) is now a museum, home to a captivating collection of art spanning from the Renaissance to the mid-20th century. Traverse the 35 baroque rooms and feel inspired by the array of paintings, sculptures, engravings and drawings on display.

54 boulevard de la Reine, Versailles

Passage des Antiquaires

Hunt for treasure in this covered passageway full of antique shops. Whether you love vintage jewelry, art deco furniture or first-edition books, one of the 40 antique experts will have something to tempt you.

10 rue Rameau, Versailles

Quartier St Louis

This beautiful neighborhood, just minutes away from the palace, has much to see and do. Take a tour of the Salle du Jeu de Paume, the tennis court where the serment du Jeu de Paume (“Tennis Court Oath”) in 1789 was taken — a seminal moment in the beginning of the French Revolution. 

Moulins de Versailles

For something a little off the beaten track, stop by this flour mill near the Chantiers train station. Inside the boutique, peruse the flour options made using local grain in the mill faithfully run by the Chaude family since 1905.

18 rue des Chantiers, Versailles

Marché Notre Dame

Pick from the finest produce and smell the aroma of freshly-caught herbs wafting through the air at this charming farmer’s market. Every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday morning, vendors fill the open space in front of the unique L-shaped buildings that beautifully frame the square. 

Place du Marché Notre-Dame

Where to stay in Versailles

An elegant, lively city with endless historic appeal, Versailles has everything you need for a regal weekend away.

stay at

Le Grand Controle

This luxury palace hotel is located just a stone’s throw away from the famous Château de Versailles. The hotel boasts opulent rooms and suites, Michelin-starred dining, a world-class spa, and breathtaking views of the Palace’s gardens.

12 Rue de l’Indépendance Américaine


Le Versailles

Enjoy a comfortable and chic stay at the Hôtel Le Versailles. Here the interiors are themed around the history of France: there are impressive wallpaper prints of Marie-Antoinette and ancient paintings of the Versailles domain in many of the suites.

7 rue Sainte-Anne


Waldorf Astoria

The lavish Waldorf Astoria is situated on the ground floor of the iconic, 17th-century Trianon Palace. Eat like royalty after making a reservation at its Michelin-starred restaurant, or get in touch with your inner blue-blood in its fabulous Guerlain Spa — one of the largest hotel spas in Europe.

1 boulevard de la Reine

Where to Eat in Versailles

Aamble down to rue Satory in the Quartier Saint-Louis neighborhood, which is filled with an abundance of wonderful restaurants. Explore the Cour des Senteurs (“The Scent Courtyard”) and the charming Lenôtre tearoom and snap up some fragrant souvenirs from one of the boutiques.

eat at

Le Bistrot du 11

Le Bistrot du 11, adored by locals for its contemporary French fare, is the ideal lunch or dinner spot after a day of meandering the opulent grounds. The team is also behind the Michelin-starred restaurant, La Table du 11 (which is around the corner and also a must-visit). Don’t forget to pick up a full-bodied red from its wine shop, La Cave du 11, before you leave.

10 rue de Satory

eat at

Au Chant du Coq

Make a point of stopping in at Au Chant du Coq, revered for their dainty, flavorful pastries that are crafted like fine art. Once you have sampled their heavenly pâtisserie, you will understand why there is always a line outside.

98 rue de la Paroisse

eat at

Chez Stefs

This wonderful bistro-style restaurant, slightly hidden down a residential street in the Quartier Saint-Louis, boasts an updated menu daily, and every mouthful is divine.

12 Rue du Vieux Versailles

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