Tips for Visiting Versailles + an overnight at Waldorf Astoria Versailles!
Ohhhhhh Versailles!!!! Be still my heart!!! I know you’ve seen all the pictures from the amazing gardens to the Hall of Mirrors but pictures do not do this place any justice at all. I remember as a little girl day dreaming while pouring over books and pictures of Versailles. My parents had visited when I was an infant (yes they left me at home) and both my mom and dad would talk about how out of this world Versailles it is. Let me tell you – visiting in person does not disappoint. When we were in France for our honeymoon #2 adventure we decided to take a full day to visit Versailles and even do an overnight! Here are some of my tips for visiting Versailles + an overnight at Waldorf Astoria Versailles! Yes you should definitely fit in an overnight if you can.
Versailles is absolutely gigantic! The chateau and all it’s grounds, fountains, & gardens to also include the Palaces of Trianon are spread out over 800 hectacres which is roughly 1,976 acres. So there truly is a lot to take in. You could walk for hours or days just through the gardens alone. Planning ahead of time your “plan of attack” will insure that you get to see all the good stuff. And really there is no bad stuff.
* Stay overnight at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace! You get to stay in the lap of luxury for one night and have The Palace of Versailles right in your back yard. The hotel is absolutely gorgeous and everything is impeccable. No detail is spared and the staff is of course amazing too. We rented a car in Paris and drove straight to the hotel. It was kind of funny rolling up in an economy rental car with all the crazy luxury cars pulling in around us. Ballin’ on a budget right!?
A little fun back story on the hotel- It was opened in 1910 and the Treaty of Versaille was drafted here in 1919! It’s one of the most luxurious hotels in the Paris area, has been a favorite haunt for famous personalities, kings and queens, and acted as a military base during two world wars. I love some good history!!! If walls could talk…
Our room was on the top floor and beyond words. We had a window that opened up to a view of forest and farm land that was studded with sheep and goats. Our room was laid out with chocolates, linens, and a hand written note welcoming us. I was especially in love with the bathroom and the super deep separate tub. I took a long hot bath in the evening. Some Harry Potter, red wine, and these amazing cookies we picked up a little market.
* Buy your tickets to visit the Palace ahead of time and choose a timed entry. I cannot stress this enough!!!! You will want to book the passport with timed entry. You will save HOURS of time and I’m not even joking a little bit. The line for people who didn’t have a timed entry was hundreds of people deep. We walked to the front of that line and to the left and basically cut in front of the whole line with our timed entry tickets. Winner Winner. My husband was impressed with my research skills!
Make sure you check the official website for Versailles and read over all the information. The Palace is closed on Mondays and if you want to enjoy the Musical Fountains Shows and the Musical Gardens you will have to visit April 4th to November 1st. Also during the summer on Saturday nights you can discover the Gardens of Versailles differently with the Night Fountains Shows. So depending on the time of year you visit you will have different opportunities.
We visited in late summer and chose to visit the Palace on a Sunday with a 3pm timed entry to the Palace. I pre-purchased the Passport with timed entry with Musical Fountain Shows or Musical Gardens. At the time it was 27 Euros a ticket. Well worth it to have timed entry and access to everything.
* The Palace is gorgeous and you don’t want to miss it! Depending on how much you want to read while walking through you can do it fast or slow. We are not big lingerers so we bypassed a lot of the other tourists who were reading every sign. The Hall of Mirrors is certainly a sight to behold! It is breath taking and walking through it is worth the whole price of admission in my opinion. I cannot even imagine having been there back in the time. It’s crazy!
* Take your time strolling through the gardens and seeing all the fountains. We got a map at the Versailles welcome office and decided which ones we really wanted to see before we aimlessly wandered. You could spend days in these gardens. You can also rent golf carts or ride a little train to different parts of the grounds. The wait for the golf carts was a bit long and the price wasn’t cheap so we skipped that. In retrospect we should have bitten the bullet! We could have zoomed through all the gardens!
* You must visit The Petit Trianon – which was the estate of Queen Marie Antoinette. It is also beautiful and has gorgeous gardens and grounds. Easiest way to get there from The Palace is to hop the little train. It will save you some walking time for sure!
* If you’re staying at the Waldorf Astoria is just a short walk from The Petit Trianon to the hotel! Like I said it’s in the back yard 🙂 It’s an absolutely lovely walk past gardens, through the trees, past farm fields with herds of goats, and more.
* We stayed overnight on a Sunday and found that there were not a lot of restaurants open. You would have a lot more options on a weekday so just keep that in mind. However we found a lovely French cafe for lunch and then ate really good Chinese in the evening.
* You could eat a grand breakfast at the hotel (which is VERY pricey I might add) or you can take a little morning walk to the local boulangerie / patisserie – which is what we did. Oh my!!! I made it a point to try something new every time I ordered a pastry. It was so fun standing in line with all of the locals and to order something in my not so good French. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. At this particular bakery there was a woman in front of us who didn’t have enough money to buy everything she wanted so she kept putting things back. When we figured out what was going on we gave the cashier some change to cover her purchases. With the language barrier we didn’t know her situation but felt compelled to help. She thanked us endlessly and the cashier smiled at us. Remember to always be kind and help where you can – even on vacation! Kindness knows no language barrier.
* Depending on your plans for the next day you could further explore the grounds of Versailles, walk around the city, or lounge outside or inside the hotel. We decided to pack it up after breakfast and start on the rest of our France adventure! However we could have easily spent another full day to see everything and fully take it in. It’s that massive and impressive for sure. There are cute shops for shopping and there’s always the impressive spa at the Waldorf!
I hope my tips for Visiting Versailles + an overnight at Waldorf Astoria Versailles is helpful to you! It’s one place you won’t be sorry you visited that for sure!!! I told my husband that I can totally understand the French Revolution after seeing the opulence that the royalty lived in. It was so surreal.
If you’re visiting Versailles than you might also be visiting Paris! I have a 5 days in Paris detailed itinerary that offers some great tips for visiting Paris! Including some ideas of where to stay, what to see, and a custom google walking map to see all of Île de la Cité!!