Visiting the Palace of Versailles is a must-do when in Paris, but navigating this historic site with kids can be challenging if you don’t have a plan and the options can be overwhelming. Here are twelve practical tips to help you plan a visit to Versailles with kids and ensure a memorable and enjoyable time for the whole family.
We learned many of these the hard way after visiting on a whim when we realized we had a half day to spare before a train out of Paris. Don’t make the same mistakes we did…
Tip 1: Book Your Date in Advance
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France. If you hope to see inside the palace, it’s crucial to book your date well in advance. This not only guarantees your entry but also saves you from long waiting lines, which can be particularly tedious when visiting with children.
The Hall of Mirrors is the most famous room in the castle and the draw for most visitors.
Tip 2: Consider a Palace Tour Without Young Children
Visiting (most of) Versailles with Kids is magical
The palace’s self guided tour can be crowded, and rooms filled with valuable antiques may not be interesting for young children.
In fact, my children were tripped over multiple times because people were looking up and didn’t notice them.
In hindsight, it would’ve been better to take turns with my husband. It may be worth considering this option for a more relaxed experience.
The gardens and Trianon Estate are much more kid-friendly.
Tip 3: No Advanced Ticket Required for the Gardens
While you need a ticket to access the palace, the Versailles gardens are open to everyone. These vast gardens are a spectacle in themselves, featuring beautiful landscapes, fountains, and sculptures. Let your kids run around and burn off some energy while you admire the beautiful surroundings.
During peak season, there are admission charges for the gardens due to the “Musical Gardens” exhibit.
Tip 4: Travel Light
Large luggage is not allowed inside the palace or the gardens.
However, small hand luggage can be stowed for free in the ticket office.
It’s best to pack light and bring only the essentials to enjoy your visit without the burden of heavy bags. I messed up bigtime when I read there was luggage storage, I had a grand plan to take all our suitcases to the palace so we could go straight to the train station from there for our 4:30pm train out of Paris.
We arrived to much resistance from the staff and finally, lucky for us, a team member (an expectant mother) took pity on us and allowed us to store them in the field trip building for school children’s bags. It was not without a lot of pleading on her part too to get a third party company to help us out and store the bags.
What the website’s luggage storage refers to is small bags, as shown here:
Tip 5: Arrive Early for Golf Cart Rental
To cover a lot of ground quickly, consider renting a golf cart. But be warned – these are popular, and people often wait in line for over an hour after 10 am. Arriving early and heading straight to the golf cart rental can save you time. Alternatively, you can use the Train, but lines can be long. You might be waiting in line for the train to come (or the 2nd train to come as the first fills up) longer than it would’ve taken to walk.
Tip 6: Pack a Picnic
The gardens of Versailles are the perfect place for a picnic. Pack some sandwiches, fruits, snacks, and drinks to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the gardens. The kids will love it, and it’s a great way to save on food costs during your visit. There are a few cafes on the grounds, but the food is so-so and the prices are exorbitant.
Tip 7: Prioritize Your Visit
Versailles is enormous, and trying to see it all can be overwhelming, especially with kids. Take a look at the options and prioritize what the must-sees are for your family.
The Queen’s Hamlet and grounds are a must-see. It’s worth exploring the Trianon Estate, comprised of the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, the Queen’s Hamlet, which are less crowded than the main palace. Note that these have their own, separate admission fee.
The paddle boats were a fun experience for our children too, rented by 15 minute increments, so it may be worth setting aside 30-45 minutes for that.
Tip 8: Use the Bathrooms When Available
Bathrooms are few and far between.
So, whenever you come across one, use it – especially if you happen upon one without a wait. This is especially important when traveling to Versailles with kids who may need bathroom breaks with little advance warning.
Tip 9: Bring a Stroller
The Versailles gardens are vast, and little legs can tire quickly. A stroller can be a lifesaver, allowing your little ones to rest while you continue exploring.
They allowed our umbrella stroller inside the palace, however it was burdensome to move through the crowded rooms, and as I mentioned above, other visitors kept tripping over us.
Tip 10: Ask at the Ticket desk for a Kid’s booklet.
The Versailles Guide for kids made it easy to explain what life would have been like during the palace’s heyday and how each space would have been utilized.
Tip 11: Download the “Palace of Versailles” Mobile App
Before your visit, download the “Palace of Versailles” mobile app from the App Store or Google Play.
This app provides useful information about the palace and gardens, including maps, audio guides, and more for your visit to Versailles with kids.
Tip 12: Use the Paris Museum Pass if the Palace is SOLD OUT
If you don’t have a ticket for the palace and they’re sold out, the Paris Museum Pass can be your ticket in. No additional ticket or timed entry is required.
Though more costly, it can be a last resort if you’re left without another option.
Final Thoughts on visiting Versailles with Kids
A trip to Versailles with kids can be a fantastic experience with carefully planning your day. Follow these tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit.
If you have more time in Paris, check out our 25 ideas for a visit to Paris with the whole family.