What to do in Versailles when you’ve already marvelled at the grandiose palace? Fear not, fellow travellers, for this charming town of Versailles, France has plenty more to offer! As a die-hard Paris lover I have visited both the palace and village of Versailles countless times. I’m eager to share my insider tips on the best things to do in Versailles Paris beyond the opulent royal residence.
Now, you might be wondering, what else to do in Versailles that can rival the splendour of the palace? Let me assure you, there are hidden gems aplenty! Get ready to explore enchanting gardens, savour mouth-watering French cuisine, and uncover captivating history as you meander through the picturesque streets of this regal town.
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Heading to Versailles?
- Book your tickets for the Palace beforehand! The lines are legendary and it can take up to 2 hours to get in. Instead I would highly recommend buying a skip the line ticket!
- If you are not into walking you can also take a golf cart tour of the gardens. This is great when travelling with elderly people!
- Want to have a unique experience in Versailles and Paris? Then you should book this Full Day Tour on Vintage Sidecar
- There is also a Full Day Paris Tour and Wine Tasting with Louvre and Versailles which I would highly recommend for foodies!
Looking for what to do in Versailles that’s off the beaten path? Well, dear wanderers, allow me to introduce you to a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the town of Versailles, France. The enchanting Versailles Cathedral is also known as the Saint Louis Cathedral.
Drenched in history, this Baroque beauty was once the humble parish of Saint Louis. It endured a tumultuous time during the French Revolution, when it was dubbed the Temple of Abundance. It only reclaimed its religious status after the dust had settled. The brave priests of this remarkable cathedral never ceased their sacred duties, even amidst the chaos and violence.
One of the things to do in Versailles Paris is to explore this captivating cathedral, which boasts a historic organ. The organ is a truly grand and mesmerizing instrument. Originally intended to be a mere chapel as part of Notre Dame of Versailles, King Louis XV changed its fate in 1740. He transformed it into the majestic structure we know today.
So, if you’re wondering what else to do in Versailles, make sure to add this architectural marvel to your must-see list. It was even the stage for the swearing-in ceremony of Pope Pius VII on January 3, 1805, during Napoleon I’s coronation. Trust me, a visit to the Versailles Cathedral is nothing short of awe-inspiring!
The Gallery of Coaches
Looking for what to do in Versailles that’s a little different? Allow me to whisk you away to the mesmerizing Gallery of Coaches, tucked away in the majestic Great Stables of the town of Versailles, France.
One of the lesser-known things to do in Versailles Paris is the gallery of coaches. This hidden gem boasts two vaulted galleries showcasing an awe-inspiring collection of ceremonial Berlin Coaches. The museum spans nearly 1000 m2. These dazzling carriages tell stories of French history through significant events. Think of the marriage of Napoléon I or the coronation of Charles X.
What else to do in Versailles, you ask? Well, prepare to be amazed by the intricate artistry of these coaches. They are adorned with gilded carvings and lavish upholstery crafted by the finest artists and artisans of their time. Imagine the splendour of grand processions, glittering with gold, amid jubilant crowds. Try to hear the thunderous sound of hooves on cobblestones.
Assembled by King Louis-Philippe in 1831, this remarkable collection is among Europe’s finest. Initially displayed in Trianon, the carriages were eventually moved to the Great Stables in 1978. The Versailles Museum of Coaches opened for the first time in 1997. In 2016 the collection expanded across both galleries in the Great Stables.
So, step into a world of opulence and grandeur, and add the Gallery of Coaches to your Versailles must-visit list. Trust me, it’s a sight you won’t want to miss!
Notre Dame de Versailles
Craving more what to do in Versailles ideas? Let’s delve into a lesser-known but equally enchanting attraction in the town of Versailles, France – the stunning Notre-Dame de Versailles. Trust me, this charming church is a must-visit spot among the things to do in Versailles Paris.
King Louis XIV commissioned the church when the court moved to Versailles, and it became an integral part of the community. The talented Jules Hardouin-Mansart, also responsible for the Grand Trianon and the Versailles gardens, designed this architectural gem. Over time, Notre-Dame de Versailles expanded and gained new decorative elements.
What else to do in Versailles, you wonder? Take a stroll to this magnificent church. It is just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Marché Notre-Dame and the entrance to the Versailles gardens. It continues to serve the town with a rich program of worship and events.
Although not as grand as the cathedral, the Eglise Notre-Dame boasts lavish décor and an inviting atmosphere. Inside, you’ll find breath-taking sculptures, marble medallions, and exquisite paintings. Many of these artifacts survived the French Revolution.
So, go ahead and add Notre-Dame de Versailles to your itinerary! This remarkable church is sure to leave you enchanted and inspired by its rich history and awe-inspiring artistry.
Looking for what to do in Versailles that’s off the beaten path? Say bonjour to the enchanting Lambinet Museum! Nestled in the town of Versailles, France, this 18th-century mansion-turned-museum is a hidden gem among things to do in Versailles Paris.
The Lambinet Museum is a treasure trove of art, history, and culture. Built by royal builder Jean-Baptiste Porchon in 1751, it later became the home of magistrate Victor Lambinet. Lambinet’s great-nephews gifted it to the town. Today, the museum boasts 35 rooms filled with awe-inspiring artifacts and masterpieces.
Curious about what else to do in Versailles? Explore the Lambinet Museum’s fine arts collection. Here you’ll encounter works by renowned sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, Dutch Golden Age paintings, and Post-Impressionist pieces. The Decorative Arts collection on the first floor features exquisite porcelain and furniture. It will transport you to an opulent 18th-century apartment.
Don’t forget to visit the second floor, dedicated to the history of Versailles and the French Revolution. Here, you’ll find fascinating objects like Louis XVI’s opening speech to the Estates General printed on silk. You will also find revolutionary ceramic tiles, and even a clock showing the decimal time used during the French Revolutionary Calendar.
In short, the Lambinet Museum offers a delightful, off-the-beaten-path experience. It will captivate history buffs and art enthusiasts alike. So, add this hidden gem to your Versailles itinerary and uncover its treasures for yourself!
Get lost in the streets of old town Versailles
Looking for what to do in Versailles besides visiting the famous Château? Explore the charming town of Versailles, France and get lost in its enchanting streets! Trust me, there’s more to Versailles than just the palace, with things to do in Versailles Paris that’ll make you fall in love with this historic town.
Wander through the old town Versailles and marvel at the splendid houses and grand buildings lining its streets. You’ll soon discover that there’s history everywhere in this picturesque town.
Wondering what else to do in Versailles? The streets of Versailles offer many great restaurants. Here you will also find some amazing shops and beautiful photo opportunities. I would definitely take my travel camera with me to snap some shots of the beautiful houses and facades in the village. And don’t forget to grab a glass of wine or a chocolat chaude on one of the many picturesque terraces.
So, don’t miss the opportunity to dive deep into the lesser-known wonders of Versailles. Immerse yourself in the town’s captivating charm. In the town of Versailles you can make unforgettable memories outside the Château’s shadow!
The King’s Vegetable Garden
Stumped on what to do in Versailles besides the palace? Don’t fret! The town of Versailles, France has plenty more to offer, with exciting things to do in Versailles Paris that’ll give you a taste of royal living. One such Versailles attractions is The King’s Vegetable Garden.
Le Potager du Roi, or the King’s Vegetable Garden, is a magnificent, lesser-known attraction nestled next to the grand Palace of Versailles. Thanks to the genius of King Louis XIV’s gardener, Jean-Baptiste La Quintinie, this walled garden boasts a microclimate. This microclimate allows over 300 varieties of fruits and vegetables to flourish out of season!
Picture manicured, military-style rows of plants, gardeners diligently tending to the soil, and the splendour of Versailles in the background. As you stroll through this 22-acre haven, you’ll discover La Quintinie’s garden artistry. This includes sculpted and espaliered fruit trees.
Since 1991, the public has been able to experience this breath-taking garden, unchanged since Louis XIV’s time. And here’s a fun fact: the garden still produces over 80 tons of fruits and vegetables annually!
So, on your next visit to Versailles, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the King’s Vegetable Garden. Watch the gardeners at work and treat yourself to fresh produce and juices at the nearby store. It’s a royal experience you won’t forget! This little piece of heaven should definitely be on your Paris bucket list!
La Ferme de Viltain
Looking for what to do in Versailles that’s off the beaten path and family-friendly? Fear not, the town of Versailles, France has you covered! Among the various things to do in Versailles Paris, there’s one delightful attraction you won’t want to miss: La Ferme de Viltain.
Need a break from the palace and gardens? A visit to La Ferme de Viltain is the perfect way to keep the little ones entertained. Just a few kilometres south of Versailles, this dairy farm is home to 600 cows. You can watch them being milked, or even meet their adorable calves in summer!
For foodies, the farm shop offers a fantastic selection of cheese, milk, and yogurt, along with homemade jams and charcuterie. Depending on the season, you can also pick your own flowers or fruit in the fields!
Free tours of the milking parlour and calf barns are available daily. The milking time is between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Plus, guided tours for individuals are offered on specific days and times, depending on the month.
La Ferme de Viltain, a 350-cow dairy farm just 17 km from Paris, has been producing high-quality, traditional dairy products since 1954. Today, it continues to thrive under the management of Benoît Dupré, Guillemette, and her husband Olivier des Courtils.
So, if you’re wondering what else to do in Versailles, take the family to La Ferme de Viltain for a wholesome, fun, and educational experience!
Free walking tours!
Eat your way through Versailles Market
Searching for what to do in Versailles that will immerse you in French culture and please your taste buds? Look no further! The town of Versailles, France boasts one of the most enticing attractions for foodies and market lovers: the Versailles Market.
This bustling indoor-outdoor market, one of the largest in the region, is a must-visit when exploring things to do in Versailles Paris. It’s a delightful mix of artisan cheeses, fresh produce, bread, pastries, candy, exotic fruits, wine, flowers, cured meats. You can even buy hot food like rotisserie chickens and crêpes. Can you say “yum”?
Located at the Place du Marché Notre Dame, the market is surrounded by four L-shaped buildings. These buildings are also called halles. The halles offer a fantastic array of culinary delights. The outdoor section is a feast for the senses, while the indoor covered halls house mouth-watering meats and prepared food.
If you’re pondering what else to do in Versailles, consider timing your visit to the Château de Versailles with one of the market days. Market days are every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday from 7am to 2pm. The indoor covered halls operate every day except Monday.
Grab some picnic supplies or choose from a variety of restaurants around the square, all popular with locals. Trust me, there’s nothing like a taste of authentic French cuisine to recharge after a day of sightseeing in the royal town of Versailles!
The Royal Opera of Versailles
What to do in Versailles when you want a pinch of history, a dash of elegance, and a whole lot of grandeur? Head to the Royal Opera of Versailles!
This architectural gem in the town of Versailles, France was inaugurated in 1770. With its lavish decor, staggering technical achievements, and versatile design, it’s a must-see when scouting for things to do in Versailles Paris.
The Royal Opera’s ability to transform from a theatre hall to a ballroom to a feasting hall is nothing short of magical. In its heyday, it hosted royal weddings, balls, and celebrations, making it a key part of French history. Wondering what else to do in Versailles? This iconic attraction is a perfect answer!
Having survived the French Revolution and multiple restorations, the Royal Opera now hosts concerts and shows for the public. So, get ready to be swept off your feet by the regal charm and stunning performances at the Royal Opera of Versailles.
Enjoy an equestrian show
Looking for a truly unique experience and wondering what to do in Versailles? Get ready for a breath-taking equestrian spectacle at the National Equestrian Academy! Located in the heart of the town of Versailles, France, this innovative institution adds a modern twist to the majestic equestrian arts.
Founded in 2003 by Bartabas, the Academy transforms the Royal Stables into an enchanting stage. This makes it a top pick for things to do in Versailles Paris. It’s an institution dedicated to excellence and the exchange of artistic disciplines. The academy is a perfect example of what else to do in Versailles.
Don’t miss their captivating show, La Voie de l’Écuyère. Choreographed by Bartabas and the equestrians of the Academy, this performance showcases the spirit of the horses and the mastery this academy has to offer. With stunning scenes like fencing on horseback and ballet with long reins, it’s a must-see for all ages (5 and up).
The show takes place every weekend. You can catch a show on Saturday at 6 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. There are additional performances on Wednesdays during short school holidays. After the show, enjoy a free tour of the stables to get an up-close look at the horses and their home.
So, saddle up and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world of the National Equestrian Academy in Versailles. This an unforgettable experience you won’t want to miss!
Things to do in Versailles FAQs
How far from Paris is Versailles?
Versailles is located about 12 miles (20 kilometres) southwest of Paris. It’s not far at all, and it makes for a great day trip!
How to get to Versailles from Paris?
The most convenient way to get to Versailles from Paris is by taking the RER C train. It takes about 30-40 minutes to reach Versailles-Rive Gauche station, which is just a short walk from the palace.
What is the best time to visit Versailles?
The best time to visit Versailles is during the spring and fall months, specifically April, May, September, and October. These months have pleasant weather and fewer crowds than the busy summer months.
Is Versailles town worth visiting?
Absolutely! The town of Versailles is charming and picturesque. It offers a delightful atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and delicious food. It’s worth spending some time exploring the town after visiting the palace.
Is it cheaper to stay in Paris or Versailles?
Generally, it’s cheaper to stay in Paris than Versailles. Paris has a wider range of accommodations, including budget-friendly options. However, you can still find affordable places to stay in Versailles if you prefer a quieter atmosphere.
What makes Versailles famous?
Versailles is famous for its magnificent palace, the Palace of Versailles. This palace was the royal residence of French kings from Louis XIV to Louis XVI. The palace is renowned for its opulent architecture, stunning gardens, and significant role in French history.
Is one day enough for Versailles?
While you can visit the main highlights of Versailles in one day, spending more than one day allows you to fully explore the palace, its gardens, the Trianons, and the town at a more leisurely pace. You can easily take the RER C back into the city, right in time for your reservation at one of the best restaurants in Paris with Eiffel Tower views!
What days to avoid Versailles?
To avoid large crowds, it’s best to avoid visiting Versailles on Tuesdays and weekends, as these are the busiest days. Also, try to avoid French public holidays and school vacations, as the palace can get extremely crowded during these times.
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!