See the Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) as French kings once did – with this small-group tour that includes a once-in-a-lifetime private viewing of the palace’s Royal Quarters. This exclusive tour gives you priority entrance to Versailles through a reserved door and provides you with unprecedented access to magnificent private rooms – such as Louis XVI’s library – which are normally off-limits to the general public, allowing you to see a side of the UNESCO World-Heritage-listed Palace of Versailles that most never will. This VIP experience also includes a tour of two rooms in the State Apartments and the famous Hall of Mirrors as soon as the palace opens, before the majority of the crowd arrives. Your priority entrance ticket allows you to go straight inside the palace with your small group (maximum 16 people), beating most of the public to these rooms.
Your VIP experience begins as you board a luxurious, air-conditioned minivan in central Paris and head west to the Palace of Versailles. On arrival in Versailles enjoy a coffee and croissant in a cafe close to the Palace. Next, meet your knowledgeable guide at the palace’s reserved entrance, and go straight inside with your priority access ticket. Follow your guide to the State Apartments, where you’ll see two of the 17 rooms – the King’s Chamber and the Council Study. Then head to the fabulous Hall of Mirrors. Your group will be among the first of the general public to arrive at this famous room so you can enjoy the sumptuous setting in all its glory. Walk down the spectacular hall, lined with 357 mirrors that reflect the windows on the opposite wall. Next, the exclusive part of your tour truly begins as you leave the crowd behind and pass through the velvet ropes into the palace’s restricted area. See the following Royal Quarters of Louis XV and Louis XVI:
The library of Louis XVI, said to be one of his favorite rooms
The dining room where Louis XV held dinners for lords and ladies
The clock room with its clock that has a crystal globe showing the planets revolving around the sun
The ‘corner room,’ which contains a cylinder desk belonging to Louis XV that is considered one of the most outstanding pieces of furniture in the world
You will then visit one of two additional royal sites, depending on daily availability: the Royal Opera House, built in 1770 to celebrate the wedding of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, or the Royal Chapel, where a series of paintings and sculptures depicts the notion that kings were chosen by God.The guided portion of your tour now ends, and your friendly guide will answer any questions you have. From here, you have a few options to complete your Versailles experience. You can explore the other 15 rooms that make up the public State Apartments independently. You can enjoy lunch at Angelina’s restaurant located inside the palace (own expense). Or you can head outside and enjoy the beautiful Gardens of Versailles – a 1,977-acre (800-hectare) oasis of groves, sculptures, labyrinths and fountains. Depending on the day of the week that you are at the palace, you may catch one of the summer musical events – either the Musical Gardens or the Musical Fountains Show (known as the Grandes Eaux musicales), both of which bring the gardens to life with classical music; see the Itinerary section below for more details. The gardens are also home to La Petite Venise, a popular restaurant with a lovely terrace, located in the former stables by the Grand Canal. It is your choice if you’d like to eat here, but you must make your way here to meet your guide for the drive back to Paris.