Versailles is undoubtedly one of the most special places in all of Europe. Any adult who appreciates history and culture will enjoy it like a child. However, it is not always possible for a child to enjoy Versailles as an adult. This is due to the characteristics of the site, which is very large and can take hours to visit.
Versailles is also a must-see in terms of culture and history. Two elements that may dazzle adults but that children may get bored or not be interested in. In this article I will give you 10 tips to make your visit with them as optimal and comfortable as possible, and above all that both they and you enjoy it equally!
1- Book a guided tour of the Palace so the kids won't get bored
The Palace of Versailles is the trunk of the best French art. Renowned architects, sculptors and painters gave their best to decorate the residence of the kings of France. However, to wander through its rooms can be overwhelming if we do not have context and information. Something that can be boring for adults, but even more so for children!
In addition, a visit to the Palace of Versailles can easily last between 1.5 and 2 hours. It is therefore advisable to make it as entertaining as possible. For this reason, it is advisable to hire a guided tour with a specialized guide in English. Their explanations and anecdotes will make the visit more bearable and the children will also be able to learn. However, visiting it will take time. That is why I advise you, regardless of the modality you choose, to consult these tips to make the most of your visit to Versailles.
There are two types of guided tours, which I will explain in detail below.
Tours without transfer from Paris
These are tours that will provide you with a guide in Spanish once you get there on your own. They usually include the following:
- Guided tour;
- Guide in Spanish;
- Entrance fee included in the price.
It is recommended if you have very clear how to get from Paris to Versailles and, above all, if you plan that the displacement is not very expensive.
Tours with transfer from Paris
They are recommended because they offer greater comfort for traveling with children. They usually consist of buses that leave from the Eiffel Tower and take you directly to Versailles. Opting for public transport (either a conventional bus or train) can be boring for children because of the possible transfers. If you finally choose this option, it does not hurt to know how to get to the Eiffel Tower.
Of course, check very well what these tours offer in terms of guide, because some of them do not include a specialized person but an audio guide.
2 - Keep the kids from getting impatient in long lines
As you can imagine, Versailles is one of the most visited tourist attractions in France. This causes the formation of huge queues that, no kidding, can congregate a couple of hundred people. To avoid waiting and children getting impatient, it is best to book a tour with entrance included.
This is if you prefer to visit Versailles on your own. As I mentioned in the previous point, if you book a guided tour, often the entrance fee is already included in the price.
3- Choose very well how you are going to get to Versailles
Few things make children more impatient than long, boring journeys. And few things annoy adults more than uncomfortable transportation with baby carriages in tow, among other inconveniences.
It is advisable, therefore, to decide how we are going to move to Versailles. If we hire a tour that includes transfer from Paris and entrance, everything is solved. However, if we go on our own, we must make a balance between comfort and simplicity of the journey.
Below I show you the available means of transport and evaluate them according to these two criteria. Although if you want more detailed information, in this article you can see how to get to Versailles from Paris.
You can use line 171 that leaves from Pont de Sèvres. The trip takes about 30 minutes and leaves you very close to the Palace of Versailles. Its frequency is about 10 minutes and they are active between 0:10 and 23:50 hours.
The bus can be a bit uncomfortable if you are traveling with a baby stroller. The best thing is that it leaves you very close to the Palace, so you will not have to add extra walking time to the journey. However, if you are staying far from Pont de Sèvres, you will have to take other means of transport that will make the whole journey more cumbersome and time-consuming.
If you opt for the train, the best option is to take the RER line C train. The journey takes 30 minutes and from 4 € will drop you off at Versailles Rive Gauche station. Check all the details on schedules and frequencies on the website dedicated to the RER line C train.
It is the most comfortable option if you plan to go loaded with strollers. The drawback, although not very serious, is that it does not leave you exactly in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles but 10 minutes away. A journey you will have to make on foot.
Rent a car
Probably the one that offers the least difficulties whichever way you look at it. However, you have to keep in mind that parking in Versailles comes with a parking fee available from 12 €.
4- Opt for a morning visit
The nearly 800 hectares of Versailles are a lot of space. That means that, if you intend a complete visit, you will spend about half a day there. This is, more or less, the time you will need to visit the main attractions:
- Palace of Versailles: Between 1.5 and 2 hours;
- Stroll through the Versailles Gardens: 2 hours;
- Visit to the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon and the Queen's Village: 1 hour.
The average time to visit the Gardens of Versailles depends, of course, on how long you want to spend in its vast areas. Here you can check what to see in the Gardens of Versailles.
Therefore, if you are traveling with children, I advise you to go in the morning and to coincide those 5 hours of average duration with lunch time. If you go on your own, it will be very useful to know all the details about how to buy tickets to visit Versailles.
What time does Versailles open? It depends on the place:
- Palace of Versailles and palace buildings: from 9 am;
- Versailles Gardens: From 8 am.
This way, you can do the math for whatever is most convenient for you. If you arrive at 9 am, you will finish your visit right at lunchtime (around 2 pm). If you arrive at 8 am, you can start seeing the gardens and finish the entire tour by 1 pm.
There are restaurants on the grounds where you can get something to eat. There are even picnic areas, so there is no need to return to Paris on an empty stomach.
For more information on opening hours, find details on the opening hours of the different attractions in Versailles here.
5- Go to the restroom before entering the Palace of Versailles
Who hasn't been there? You're peacefully visiting a museum or monument and, suddenly, the little ones have an overwhelming urge to go to the toilet. To avoid this unwelcome urge, it is always a good idea for them to go to the bathroom before starting the visit. Especially because, as you can see, there are many things to see at the Palace of Versailles.
There are toilets at the entrance to the site, next to the ticket offices and in the cloakrooms. There are also restrooms scattered throughout the gardens. These are usually less crowded than those at the Palace of Versailles. Here you can check the locations of the toilets in Versailles.
6- Bring a cloth baby carrier if you are going to enter the Palace of Versailles
For safety reasons aimed at an optimal evacuation in case of emergency, strollers and metal baby carriers are not allowed inside the Palace of Versailles. It is therefore recommended that you carry a cloth baby carrier, which is fully permitted.
However, it doesn't mean that you can't go to Versailles without a stroller - it can be very useful for touring the gardens! The only thing you will have to do is to leave it in the luggage room once you decide to enter the Palace.
7- Explore the fairytale Versailles with the children
Just because Versailles is a palatial and very "stuffy" environment does not mean that there are no places where children can feel like they are in a fairytale setting. This is especially true in the Queen's Village. A place that Marie Antoinette had built for her leisure.
It has different attractions, such as, for example, English gardens (that imitate nature) and a lake with carp and pike. She also had 12 wooden cabins built in Flemish and Norman style that will look like something out of a fairy tale to children.
It is located right next to the Petit Trianon, so don't hesitate to go there with the kids. They will have a wonderful time.
8- Bring a backpack with you with food and drinks
You are allowed to enter Versailles with a backpack. In it you can carry some snacks and drinks, in case the children feel hungry. Nevertheless, the gardens of Versailles are full of kiosks and places to buy food. For more information on this, you can check here where to eat in Versailles.
However, it never hurts to arrive at Versailles well stocked just in case. In fact, there are areas where you can have a picnic. They are the following:
9- Amuse them with a train ride
What child doesn't love a ride on a little train? Moreover, given the huge surface of Versailles, it can be a good way to discover the surroundings without tiring them. There is a tourist train, called Train Versailles, which you can use in these cases.
The route is quite complete and passes through the Palace, the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon and the Head of the Grand Canal. These are their schedules:
- From November 1 to March 31: First departure at 11:10 am and last departure at 5:10 pm;
- From April 1 to October 31: Same schedule except for the last departure, which takes place at 5:50 pm.
The tour can be accompanied by an audio guide in 10 languages. It is an extra available from 4 €. The ticket can be purchased from 7.50 € (adults), from 5.80 € (under 18 years) and free for children under 12 years. It's perfect!
10- Keep an eye on the children
Versailles is a place built to provide the comforts of absolute kings, but it is not without its risks. We recommend you to be especially vigilant in the following contexts:
- Inside the palace: With the number of visitors and outbuildings, it is not uncommon for us to lose sight of the children. Especially if we are immersed in the contemplation of a beautiful painting or in the explanation of the audio guide.
- On the garden paths: Although everything in Versailles is reasonably safe, you should keep a close eye on your children while walking along the paths and roads. Vehicles such as the tourist train mentioned above are common. But also motorized carts are available for quick visits to the gardens. Here you can check which are the stops of the tourist train:. This way you will not have to be with a hundred eyes at every step you take in the gardens.
- In the vicinity of ponds and lakes: Versailles is a space full of fountains, lakes, canals and ponds. It is easy to become absorbed in the beauty of the surroundings and lose sight of the little ones for a few seconds. And we know how they are, they tend to get into all the puddles, never better said. It is therefore advisable to be extremely vigilant in these environments.
If you take all these tips into account, you can be sure that your visit to Versailles with children will be as comfortable as possible, and that they, like you, will enjoy the experience just as much!