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Versailles is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France. It can easily be visited on a day trip from Paris. The Palace of Versailles is easily one of the most famous palaces in the world
Versailles is easily one of the most famous palaces in the world, and tourist flock to see it. It is always busy, and it can be frustrating trying to navigate Versailles amongst the crowds.
It is impossible to fully avoid the crowds, but there are a number of strategies that will limit your interaction with them. You will have a much more enjoyable experience if you plan your trip to the palace strategically to avoid the crowds.
Buy Tickets for Versailles in Advance Online
The queue to purchase tickets at the ticket office can be over an hour long. It is a waste of your time to wait in that queue when you can easily purchase tickets in advance online. You can purchase tickets up to 8 months before your visit, so you can easily purchase them before you leave for Paris.
You need to print a physical copy of your ticket, so you should print it before you leave for Paris if you won’t have access to a printer while you’re on holiday.
Other than needing a physical ticket, purchasing tickets online is an easy process. You simply choose what ticket you want, what day you want to visit, input a little personal information, and pay with a credit card.
You will be able to bypass the entire queue and go directly into the palace with your advanced ticket. It saves you so much time! There really is no downside to purchasing your ticket online in advance. It is limiting in the sense of you have to know what day you are visiting in advance, but it is worth planning ahead.
Purchase Tickets for the First Entry Time
You can choose a designated time slot when you purchase tickets online. You should purchase a ticket for the 9am entry time if it is available. This is the first entry into the palace, so it will be the quietist.
You should purchase your tickets as far in advance as possible for the best chance of getting a 9am entry time.
You will have the most room to view and appreciate the interior at the 9am time slot. There won’t be people in front of you, so you won’t run into people crowding around one place. Well, the crowding will at least be limited to the people in your entry slot.
You will also have the opportunity to get pictures of the inside of Versaille without too many people in your way. If you enter the palace right at 9 and keep to the front of your group, you can get pictures of some of the rooms with nobody else in them. It makes for great pictures, and your friends will be jealous!
The downside to buying tickets for the 9am time slot is that you will have to get up early, but it is worth it! You should plan to be at the palace at 8:45 to get through security and have your ticket scanned. You know what they say, the early bird beats the crowds!
Download the Audioguide Before You Arrive
You can download the Versailles audioguide to your smart phone before you arrive at the palace. You won’t have to stand in line to get an audioguide, and you will save more time and get ahead of the people waiting to get their guide.
The audioguide can be downloaded through the app store. You simply search “Versailles audioguide”, and you will be able to download the guide. It is free, so you don’t have to worry about paying for it.
The audioguide is offered in French, English, and Spanish. If you speak a different language, you will want to get an audioguide at the palace. The audioguides at the palace offer a wider range of languages, so you can enjoy the tour in your native tongue.
Visit the Gardens Before You Visit the Palace
The gardens open one hour before the palace does. That means you can enter the gardens at 8am, walk through them, and then go into the palace at 9am.
You will need more than an hour to explore the gardens, but it gives you an opportunity to visit the more popular areas and take great pictures before the crowds get there. You can go back to the gardens to finish exploring after you are done in the palace.
The gardens are free to enter during the winter because there are no flowers and the fountains are covered. There is an entrance fee to visit the gardens the rest of the year. You can purchase your ticket to the gardens at the same time as you purchase your palace ticket online. There is a combo ticket you can choose that allows you entrance to both areas.
You have to get up early to visit the gardens right when they open. It is worth it if you enjoy gardens and if you want to avoid as many of the crowds as possible.
The gardens are large, so they don’t feel crowded for the most part. There are areas of interest that draw crowds, but, for the most part, you can wander through the gardens and have little to no crowds.
Visit Versailles on Wednesday or Thursday
Wednesday and Thursday are the least busy days of the week at Versailles. You should try to schedule your trip to Versailles so it falls on one of these days.
The palace is closed on Mondays, and weekends and national holidays are always busy. If you have to visit on a weekend, try to go on a Sunday as it is the quieter day.
Tuesday is busy because the Louvre in Paris is closed, so many people choose to visit Versailles instead. You should avoid visiting on a Tuesday at all costs.
When you visit on a Wednesday or Thursday, there will be fewer crowds if you don’t manage to get a 9am entry time. You will also have a better chance of getting a 9am time if you purchase tickets last minute because fewer people are going those days.
Eat Before You Get to Versailles
You will have an early morning if you get a 9am entry time to the palace. You should eat a big breakfast before you get to Versailles, so you don’t have to spend your precious less crowded time in the cafeteria because you’re hungry.
This tip may seem out of place, but it makes a difference in terms of the crowds. If you have to stop at the cafeteria partway through your tour, the crowds are going to catch up with you. Plus the food at Versailles isn’t all that great.
You are able to bring your own food and water to have a picnic in the gardens. You will have to check your bag that has the food before you enter the palace, so you need to budget time for that. Having a picnic is a great way to experience the ambiance of Versailles and get away from the crowds.
There will be crowds at Versailles even if you follow all of these tips. You have to prepare yourself to have some level of crowds, but you can avoid the worst of the crowds by getting there right when the palace opens and purchasing your tickets online.
You shouldn’t let the fact that there will be crowds discourage you from visiting Versailles. It is a historic and beautiful sight that deserves to be seen.