Versailles, located just outside of Paris, France, is a city renowned for its opulent palace and gardens, rich history, and cultural significance. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Versailles:
1. Palace of Versailles
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The Palace of Versailles is an absolute must-see when visiting the city. This magnificent royal residence was built during the reign of Louis XIV and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the opulent State Apartments, the stunning Hall of Mirrors, and the beautiful gardens. Take your time to admire the intricate architecture, stunning artwork, and the grandeur of this historical landmark.
2. Gardens of Versailles
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The Gardens of Versailles are a masterpiece of landscape design. Spanning over 800 hectares, they are meticulously manicured and feature stunning fountains, statues, and flower beds. You can take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike to explore the vast grounds. Don’t miss the Musical Fountains Show or the Musical Gardens, where you can enjoy synchronized music and water displays.
3. Marie-Antoinette’s Estate
Located within the grounds of Versailles, Marie-Antoinette’s Estate offers a glimpse into the private life of the queen. Explore the charming Petit Trianon, a small palace gifted to Marie-Antoinette by Louis XVI. Nearby, you’ll find the picturesque Hameau de la Reine (Queen’s Hamlet), a rustic village where Marie-Antoinette could escape the formality of court life.
4. The Grand Trianon
This pink marble palace was built by Louis XIV as a retreat away from the main palace. It has housed many French leaders since then and is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture. Take a stroll through the gardens surrounding the Grand Trianon and appreciate the tranquility of the area.
5. The Royal Opera of Versailles
If you have an appreciation for the performing arts, attending a show at the Royal Opera of Versailles is a memorable experience. This stunning theater, adorned with gold and velvet, showcases opera, ballet, and classical music performances.
6. Eglise Notre-Dame
Visit the Eglise Notre-Dame, the city’s beautiful cathedral. Admire the impressive architecture and the intricate stained glass windows. The cathedral also houses the tombs of several members of the French royal family.
7. Versailles Market
Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Versailles Market. Held in the lively Notre-Dame district, this market offers a wide array of fresh produce, local delicacies, and artisanal crafts. It’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs or enjoy a delicious snack.
8. Explore the city center
Take a leisurely walk through the city center of Versailles and soak in its charming atmosphere. Admire the beautiful architecture, browse through boutique shops, and indulge in French cuisine at one of the many delightful restaurants.
9. Potager du Roi
Visit the Potager du Roi, the historic kitchen garden of the Palace of Versailles. This beautifully manicured garden is known for its geometrically designed beds and the variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers it produces. Take a guided tour to learn about the garden’s history and its significance in providing fresh produce for the palace.
10. Museum of the History of France
Located within the Palace of Versailles, the Museum of the History of France offers a comprehensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that provide insight into the country’s history. Explore the displays showcasing important events and figures, including the French Revolution.
11. Les Carrés Saint-Louis
This charming district in Versailles is known for its picturesque squares lined with cafes, boutiques, and art galleries. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets, savor a cup of coffee or tea, and browse the unique shops for souvenirs or locally made goods.
12. Montansier Theatre
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If you appreciate performing arts, catch a show at the Montansier Theatre. This historic theater dates back to the 18th century and presents a variety of performances, including plays, operas, and concerts. Immerse yourself in the cultural scene of Versailles and enjoy a night of entertainment.
13. Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes
During the summer months, the Gardens of Versailles come alive with the Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes, a spectacular nighttime fountain show. The gardens are illuminated, and the fountains dance to classical music, creating a magical atmosphere. It’s a truly enchanting experience to witness the gardens in a different light.
14. Hôtel de Ville
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Visit the City Hall of Versailles, located in the heart of the city. The building itself is an architectural gem, and you can often find exhibitions and events taking place inside. Admire the grandeur of the building and the lively atmosphere of the surrounding square.
15. Parly 2
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If you’re in the mood for shopping, head to Parly 2, one of the largest shopping centers in the region. This modern mall offers a wide range of shops, from fashion and beauty to electronics and home goods. Take a break from sightseeing and indulge in some retail therapy.
16. Golf de la Boulie
Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at Golf de la Boulie, a prestigious golf course located in Versailles. The course offers beautiful green landscapes, challenging fairways, and a serene setting for a day of outdoor recreation.
17. Local Cuisine
Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the delicious French cuisine that Versailles has to offer. From traditional brasseries to upscale restaurants, you’ll find a variety of dining options to suit your taste. Indulge in classic dishes such as escargots, coq au vin, or a decadent dessert like crème brûlée.
18. Attend a Cultural Event
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Check the local events calendar to see if any festivals, concerts, or exhibitions are taking place during your visit. Versailles hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year, showcasing art, music, and theater, providing an immersive experience of the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
19. Visit the Lambinet-Hôtel Museum
Located in a historic mansion, the Lambinet-Hôtel Museum offers a fascinating collection of artwork, furniture, and historical artifacts that showcase the history and heritage of Versailles. Explore the different rooms and galleries to gain insight into the city’s past.
20. Discover the Royal Stables
Pay a visit to the Royal Stables, located near the Palace of Versailles. Explore the magnificent architecture and learn about the history of the stables, which once housed the horses and carriages of the royal family. Today, the stables house the National Equestrian Academy, where you can watch equestrian performances and demonstrations.
21. Attend a Concert at the Royal Chapel
Experience the awe-inspiring acoustics and beautiful architecture of the Royal Chapel at the Palace of Versailles. Check the schedule for upcoming concerts or religious services and enjoy the sublime music in this historical setting.
22. Day Trip to the Château de Fontainebleau
If you have extra time, consider taking a day trip from Versailles to the Château de Fontainebleau, another magnificent royal residence. Located about an hour’s drive from Versailles, Fontainebleau offers stunning architecture, extensive gardens, and a rich history dating back to the 12th century.
23. Explore the Market Square
Visit the Market Square (Place du Marché) in the city center of Versailles. This bustling square is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a perfect spot for people-watching and enjoying the lively atmosphere. Grab a seat at one of the outdoor terraces and indulge in some French cuisine while soaking in the vibrant surroundings.
24. Take a Guided Tour
To gain deeper insights into the history and stories of Versailles, consider taking a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides can provide fascinating details about the palace, gardens, and surrounding areas, enriching your experience and helping you appreciate the significance of the city.
25. Visit the Municipal Library
If you’re interested in literature and history, make a stop at the Municipal Library of Versailles. The library houses a vast collection of books, manuscripts, and archives, including historical documents related to the city and its residents. It’s a great place to delve into the local history and culture.
26. Enjoy a Picnic in the Gardens
Pack a picnic and find a peaceful spot in the Gardens of Versailles to enjoy a leisurely meal amidst the stunning scenery. Find a shaded area under a tree or near a tranquil fountain and savor delicious French delicacies while taking in the beauty that surrounds you.
27. Visit the Royal Tennis Court
Step into history at the Royal Tennis Court (Salle du Jeu de Paume), where the famous Tennis Court Oath took place during the French Revolution. Take a guided tour to learn about the significance of this historic site and its role in shaping the course of French history.
28. Explore the Parc Balbi
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the tranquility of Parc Balbi. This charming park features lush greenery, serene ponds, and beautiful statues. Take a leisurely stroll or find a bench to relax and soak in the peaceful ambiance.
29. Discover the Musée Lambinet Gardens
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Adjacent to the Musée Lambinet, you’ll find beautiful gardens that offer a peaceful retreat. Explore the well-manicured lawns, flower beds, and shaded pathways, creating a serene atmosphere ideal for a leisurely walk or a moment of relaxation.
30. Attend the Fountains Night Show
During the summer months, the Gardens of Versailles come alive with the Fountains Night Show (Grandes Eaux Nocturnes). Marvel at the illuminated fountains, colorful lights, and synchronized music that create a magical atmosphere. It’s a captivating spectacle that shouldn’t be missed.
31. Experience the Versailles Cathedral
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Pay a visit to the Versailles Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Louis de Versailles), a stunning example of French Gothic architecture. Admire the intricate stained glass windows, the grand organ, and the beautiful interior decoration. Attend a religious service or simply take a moment for quiet contemplation.
32. Take a Segway Tour
Embark on a unique and fun adventure by exploring Versailles on a guided Segway tour. Glide through the city’s streets and parks, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who will share interesting facts and stories about the city’s history and landmarks.
33. Visit the Académie Équestre de Versailles
Witness the artistry of dressage and equestrian performances at the Académie Équestre de Versailles. This prestigious institution showcases the elegance and skill of trained horses and riders in captivating shows that pay homage to the equestrian heritage of Versailles.
34. Explore the Quartier Satory
Venture to the Quartier Satory, a vibrant neighborhood with a mix of residential areas, shops, and restaurants. Discover local cafes and boutiques, or visit the contemporary art center, Le 2.22, which hosts exhibitions and cultural events.
35. Enjoy a Wine Tasting
France is renowned for its wines, and Versailles offers opportunities to indulge in wine tastings. Visit a local wine shop or wine bar and savor a selection of wines from different regions of France, accompanied by expert guidance on the flavors and characteristics of each variety.
36. Visit the Musée des Carrosses
Discover a fascinating collection of historic carriages and vehicles at the Musée des Carrosses (Carriage Museum). Marvel at the intricate craftsmanship and learn about the role these vehicles played in the transportation of the French royal family.
37. Explore the Hôtel de la Princesse de Lamballe
Step into the elegant Hôtel de la Princesse de Lamballe, a beautifully preserved mansion that offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the French nobility. Admire the ornate decorations, period furniture, and art collections as you wander through its grand rooms.
38. Attend the Versailles Festival
If you visit during the summer, don’t miss the Versailles Festival (Festival de Versailles), a cultural extravaganza featuring a diverse range of performances including music, theater, dance, and opera. Immerse yourself in the arts and enjoy world-class performances in stunning venues.
39. Visit the Musée de la Toile de Jouy
Located in the nearby town of Jouy-en-Josas, the Musée de la Toile de Jouy celebrates the famous Toile de Jouy fabric. Learn about the history and production techniques of this iconic printed fabric through exhibitions and displays of beautiful textiles.
40. Explore the Parc de la Vallée de la Bièvre
Take a break from the city and venture into the Parc de la Vallée de la Bièvre, a natural park situated on the outskirts of Versailles. Enjoy picturesque walking trails, lush green spaces, and the tranquil ambiance of this scenic park.
41. Take a Day Trip to Giverny
If you have extra time, consider a day trip to Giverny, a picturesque village known for being the home of the renowned impressionist painter Claude Monet. Visit Monet’s house and gardens, which served as inspiration for many of his famous works, particularly the iconic water lily paintings.
42. Relax at a Café Terrace
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Take a moment to relax and soak in the atmosphere of Versailles by enjoying a coffee or a glass of wine at one of the charming café terraces scattered throughout the city. Sit back, people-watch, and savor the ambiance of this historic destination.
43. Discover the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
Visit the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature) to explore the fascinating world of hunting and wildlife. The museum showcases a vast collection of artwork, taxidermy, and artifacts related to hunting, as well as exhibits on the natural world.
44. Explore the Domaine de Madame Elisabeth
Venture to the Domaine de Madame Elisabeth, the former residence of King Louis XVI’s sister. This charming estate features a neoclassical pavilion, beautiful gardens, and a peaceful atmosphere. Take a stroll through the grounds and enjoy the tranquility of this lesser-known gem.
45. Attend a Classical Music Concert at the Opéra Royal
Experience the grandeur of the Opéra Royal within the Palace of Versailles. Check the schedule for classical music concerts performed in this opulent setting, and immerse yourself in the beautiful melodies and rich history of the venue.
46. Visit the Musée de la Guerre
Learn about the military history of France at the Musée de la Guerre (Museum of War). This museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, uniforms, weapons, and documents spanning various periods of French military history.
47. Enjoy a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
Experience a touch of nostalgia and elegance by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of Versailles. Sit back, relax, and let the clip-clop of the horse’s hooves transport you to a bygone era as you take in the city’s sights.
Places and Things To Do