Versailles in France is often overlooked for its more famous neighbour Paris. Often added last minute to an itinerary as a day trip from the city of lights. But I really thinks it’s worth it’s own stopover. In fact we often opt to stay in Versailles and take a day trip to Paris instead. Whichever way, it’s easily accessible when you’re on a family trip to Paris. Yes, it’s all about the splendour of the Palace and its influence can be felt all around the city. Whilst that’s mainly what I’ll focus on so here’s there’s plenty else to entertain. So here’s everything you need to know if you’re visiting Versailles with kids.
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List of Contents
- 1 Things to do in Versailles with kids
- 2 Where to eat in Versailles with kids
- 3 Where to stay in Versailles with kids
- 4 Getting to Versailles
- 5 How to get around Versailles
- 6 Versailles Parking
- 7 When to visit Versailles
Things to do in Versailles with kids
Without a doubt the Palace should be your main activity when visiting Versailles, France. There’s no getting away from it. The opulent gold gates will call for you from all around the town. With the grounds and stunning gardens offering huge, beautiful open spaces to enjoy. This should be the first place to head to with little ones.
Palace of Versailles for kids
Depending on the age of your little ones, they may or may not be interested in the history of the Palace. But they will definitely be in awe of the gilded gates and sumptuous rooms. The Palace is just jaw droppingly beautiful and that sense of grandeur is surely enough to keep the kids entertained for a few hours at least.
The entrance to the Palace with its huge golden gates and many statues will bring about oooos and ahhhs from adults and kids. It’s unashamedly over the top.
A little history on the Palace
If you do want to impart some history… The Palace of Versailles was built in the 1600s by King Louis XIV. It was one of the most expensive buildings in the world. A symbol of royal power. The Palace was almost destroyed after the French revolution but was lovingly restored by King Louis-Philippe and transformed into one of the most popular museums in France.
In 1919 The treaty of Versailles was formed at the palace which put an end to World War One. The Palace became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
You can download a brilliant app which is a kids audio guide around the Palace and Gardens. You can download the app here. It also has loads of useful information for exploring Versailles.
Eating at the Palace of Versailles
There are some lovely little food shacks and cafes dotted around the castle grounds. These are great for a sugar or caffeine hit if you (or the kids) need a little extra energy to keep going.
Tickets for the Palace of Versailles
I recommend buying tickets to the Palace of Versailles in advance online. This link will take you to tickets for the house and gardens. If you just want straight forward lowest cost tickets for all ages then book through the Palace website. Kids under 18 are free which is excellent, however they will still need to book a time slot. Just choose Free Admission when you book. It will save you some money and ensure you get the slot you want.
Although the interior of the Palace is spectacular, I would carefully consider if you actually need to go inside. Pretty much whatever time you arrive, the inside of the palace will be packed, making it difficult for little people to see anything at all. It’s not massively interesting for kids, they’ll probably enjoy the grounds way more than the Palace plus its just as stunning from the outside.
Although pushchairs are currently allowed in the Palace, I recommend a baby carrier instead. It’s just often too busy to navigate safely.
Palace of Versailles hours
Pre pandemic the Palace received over 4 million visitors each year. Yes it’s busy! Obviously the busiest months are over the summer during the European summer holidays. Although this is definitely when the gardens are at their best, it’s probably not the best time to visit with little kids. They will absolutely get overwhelmed. Aim for spring or early Autumn for lovely warm weather and a small respite from the crowds. Late afternoon is probably the best time of day to plan your trip. Again it’s a bit quieter and the sunlight is just gorgeous.
The Palace is closed on Mondays. Every other day it opens at 9am. The Gardens and estate are open every day.
You currently need a health pass (with vaccination status on it) or proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours to enter the Palace. This is true for anyone over the age of 12.
Versailles Private Tours
If you want to spend a considerable amount of time in Versailles and learn a lot as you go, I recommend a private tour. These often include transport from Paris, will allow you to skip the line and ask as many questions as you like. Perfect for little ones with an interest in Marie Antoinette or the French Revolution.
Get Your Guide has a wide range of Versailles Private tours available.
It’s absolutely free to visit the Gardens of the Palace (although not on musical fountain days during peak season so check before you go). And they are absolutely stunning. I find it’s always easier being outdoors when travelling with kids and there is plenty of space here for them to run around.
In the grounds you’ll also find the Grand Trianon, another gorgeous building built by Louis the XIV. It’s all pink marble and columns and just screams decadence! Versailles Palace actually started out as a sort of hunting lodge and kids will love the cute Hameau of Versailles. A kind of rural retreat in the city, built for the young Marie Antoinette to play in.
The Estate is over 2000 acres in total. You will not be able to see everything in one day. Don’t try and save yourself and the kids that extra bit of stress. Take it slow and enjoy the surroundings at a child’s pace. If they do start moaning about all the walking then you can hop on a little train to Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet or the Trianon Palaces. It’s just €8.50 for adults and free for under twelves. You can get on and off as many times as you like.
Make sure you explore the town of Versailles as well
Versailles is extremely beautiful, it was once home to the richest King in Europe and that is reflected across the city. To this day the stunning architecture often house high end designer stores and restaurants.
Versailles is home to several food markets serving delicious fresh produce of a super high quality. Kids will love choosing some fresh fruit off one of the colourful stalls.
Where to eat in Versailles with kids
Versailles has many excellent restaurants. As with many French cities it’s probably best to follow your nose and stop somewhere that takes your fancy. We found a great little spot just over the carpark and square right outside the Palace. Here we were able to relax on the terrace and take in the beautiful view with a cold drink and snacks.
We ate dinner in a sweet pizzaria about ten minutes walk from the Palace on Rue de Satory. Not very French i know but exactly what we needed. This street is home to several lovely restaurants so you’ll be sure to find something to suit the whole family.
If you’re after something special then book yourselves a table at Gordon Ramsays Au Trianon at the Waldorf Astoria Trianon hotel Palace Versailles. It’s not cheap but is a real treat for a special occasion. I couldn’t find a kids menu but pretty much all French restaurants are child friendly, kids are just expected to eat what the adults do.
Where to stay in Versailles with kids
We stayed at the brilliant Ibis Chateau de Versailles. I love staying at Ibis hotels in France, they are absolutely great value, always super clean with friendly staff and a no fuss buffet breakfast. It’s not fancy but it’s perfectly comfortable enough for a family if you don’t plan on spending you whole day in the room. You can check out the best prices for your stay at the Ibis Versailles here.
If you’re after something a little more upmarket then check out the Waldorf Astoria Versailles. As you would expect from a Waldorf this is an absolutely gorgeous hotel which is actually two in one. The Trianon Palace and the Pavillon du Trianon. And it’s right next to the Palace. Check out the best prices for the Waldorf Astoria Versailles here.
Getting to Versailles
We were stopping in Versailles as part of our two week road trip through France. We were travelling down to Versailles from Chantilly and it took us a couple of hours as we got a bit stuck in traffic on the outskirts of Paris. If you’re heading down by ferry it’s around three and a half hours drive from Calais.
You can easily hop on the Eurostar from London and then get the train into Versailles centre. Versailles has a couple of train stations so it’s super easy to access by public transport.
The nearest airport to Versailles is Orly which is about a 45 minute drive away. Or you could fly into Charles de Gaulle about an hours drive away. Although you’re likely to get stuck in quite a lot of traffic around Paris.
Versailles to Paris
If your want to visit Paris from Versailles then it’s not too far to drive however with Paris traffic it could take you up to an hour. I recommend getting the train which is cheap, fast and super easy. You’re looking for line C of the RER train. Hop on the train at Château Rive Gauche and get off at Paris Saint-Lazare. We managed to spend a wonderful day in Paris ticking off all the top spots before catching the evening train back to Versailles.
If you don’t have a car or don’t fancy the train then a taxi from central Paris should cost you around €40 one way.
How to get around Versailles
If you only want to wander from your hotel to the Palace and perhaps out for dinner and to the shops you wont need a car. Much of Versailles is very walkable or you could even hire a bicycle.
We had a special rate for a car park near our hotel included in our room rate. You will also find plenty of on street parking around town. there are plenty of paid carparks in and around the Palace Estate. The closest one to the main entrance is the Place d’Armes.
When to visit Versailles
Summer is the best time to visit the Palace for weather and to enjoy the great estate. However this is the worst time to visit for crowds. I recommend late Spring or early Autumn to try to get the best of both worlds. Avoid weekends at all time of year. It’s always bust, whatever the weather.
Make sure you pin for later to plan your next visit to Versailles with kids.