There is so much more to Versailles than just the Chateau. There are manicured gardens and groves, the Trianon palaces and Marie Antoinette’s estate. You will want to allow enough time to visit and explore it all. But, covering such a large area can be tiring. Fortunately, there is an easy solution – the tram shuttle.
There are two ways to utilize the tram shuttle:
First, you can purchase a ticket at the ticket booth located in the garden near the Chateau. This ticket is a separate ticket than your entry pass and will allow you on and off access at the different tram stops throughout the estate. Look for the green ticket stands. Depending on the day and time of year, the shuttles may not start running until 11am. Check shuttle times here.
Second, you can purchase a tram ticket at any tram stop on the estate from the tram shuttle driver. A great option to allow you to see parts of the estate by foot and then also have a back up option if you get tired.
My preferred way for exploring the estate is a combination of walking and riding the tram.
In my opinion, certain parts of the estate grounds are designed for enjoying and exploring on foot. The gardens and groves directly off the Chateau are a feast for the eyes and include tree-lined alleyways, hidden alcoves and beautiful fountains. Spending time exploring the formal gardens is a must and one of my favorite parts of Versailles. I love discovering new hidden places among the arborvitae.
After exploring the gardens, walk towards the Grand Canal. There are benches along the way if you need to rest and depending on the season, snack shops to grab a quick bite and drink. Once at the Grand Canal, turn right and head towards the Grand Trianon. There is a tram station located at the Grand Canal if you decide the walk to the next part of the estate is too far. I love the stroll along the tree-lined way to the Grand Trianon. While the Chateau and formal gardens can be swarming with visitors, the walk towards the Grand Trianon is more secluded, leisurely and quiet.
After visiting the Grand Trianon, you can either continue by foot towards Marie Antoinette’s estate or choose to board the tram. The walk from the Grand Trianon to Marie Antoinette’s estate is much shorter than the walk from the Grand Canal to the Grand Trianon.
Once at Marie Antoinette’s estate, the temple of love, the hamlet and the farm are only accessible by foot. I know I have said this earlier but I love love love the walk to the hamlet and around the farm. The transition from the formality of an estate to the countryside of hamlet is so relaxing and enjoyable.
You might be asking where the tram comes in. Well, I recommend riding the tram from the Petit Trianon back to the Chateau. After walking so far into the estate, you will be worn out and the tram ride will be a welcome reprieve for tired legs.
It is important to note that the tram ride is not necessarily smooth or overly comfortable. The seats are wooden benches and the ride is bumpy and jarring as you travel over gravel roads.
I highly recommend you explore the Versailles estate past the Chateau and the gardens and use the tram to help you do so.
Unfortunately, I wish I didn’t have to close this post this way but the terrorist attack of March 22 on Brussels is both sad and maddening. Innocent individuals going about their lives were killed for one reason – they lived in freedom. Those that performed this terrorist attack are of the same mindset of those who acted in New York City on September 11, 2001 and in Paris on November 13, 2015. Their goal is to stop peaceful individuals from living peaceful free lives. Don’t let terrorist steal your freedom. Keep speaking out, keep supporting each other and as Rick Steves says “keep on traveling.”