As much a work of art in itself as the treausres it holds, the Palace of Versailles is visited by approximately 5 million people every year. Even larger is the number of people who visit its royal garden. With the sheer given numbers of tourists visiting the palace, ticket queues an easily extend past 60 minutes, with lines at least 2 hours long during the peak season.
However, you don't need to settle for this as there are multiple easy ways to skip the Versailles queue.
1. Book your tickets in advance to skip the line
The line at both the ticket queue and the security check at the Versailles are known for being uncomfortably long. If you buy your tickets on site, then you will have to queue up twice, once at the ticket counter and the other at the security check. This can easily take 3 hours during the peak season. The best way to shave off at least 75% of your wait time is to purchase your tickets online beforehand.
2. Go on a guided tour to skip the line
Guided tours of the Palace of Versailles also help you skip the ticket queue. If you purchase your gudied tour tickets online, the only queue you will be waiting in will be the security check. Guided tours also have the added benefit of an expert guide who will help you make the most of your time in the palace, showing you all the major highlights and helping you navigate through the palace's royal corridors.
3. Choosing the right time to visit
With the palace open to tourists on all days of the week throughout the year (except Mondays), it's a given that weekends at Versailles have the highest footfall. You should ideally plan to visit the palace on a weekday to avoid the crowd. Also keep in mind that since most tourists are travelling from Paris, the palace is extremely crowded from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Try to visit immediately after it opens or just before closing to explore the royal grounds in peace.
Visitor Tips & Hacks
- There are two audio guide pick-up counters, both located on the ground floor: one at the entrance to the Apartments of Mesdames, and another at the entrance to the Gallery of Castles, just after crossing the Royal Court.
- Visitors are requested not to touch any vases or statues, not to walk on the lawns or to have picnics.
- Animals must be kept on a lead. They are not allowed in Marie-Antoinette's Estate or inside the gardens and groves.
- Use of camera flashes and mobile phones is prohibited inside the Museum.
- In the interest of everyone, proper dress is required.
- Use of extendable monopod stick poles for smartphones is strictly prohibited in the rooms of the Museum.
- The Park and Gardens are open every day. The access is free except during Musical Fountains Shows and Musical Gardens.
- There are three train stations in Versailles, the closest one of the Palace is Versailles Château Rive Gauche.
- The following items must be left at the bag deposit: walking sticks, umbrellas, pointed, sharp or blunt objects, suitcases, briefcases, rucksacks, shopping and other bags, pushchairs, children's cars, push scooters, helmets, camera tripods, reproductions and casts.
- You are allowed to bring your own picnic or lunch to Versailles, but you can of course only eat outside the castle (in the gardens).
- Every first sunday from November to March sees free entry to the Palace of Versailles for all.