Avoid Visiting Paris' Iconic Versailles On These Days Of The Week, Per Rick Steves

Many visitors to France place gazing upon the opulence of Versailles high on their list of priorities. Built in 1634, this gold-drenched estate is known largely for its connection to Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King. Looking at his palace, it's clear how the star at the center of our solar system influenced the decor. This fantastical locale is something to behold, though you will need to plan strategically if you want to see its full splendor. After all, over fifteen million folks pay the palace a visit every year.


It should come as no surprise that Versailles is at its most crowded during the summer months when throngs of tourists walk its hallowed halls. The busiest month of all is August — and no, the palace does not feel air conditioned from personal experience, especially if it's busy. Although summer will generally have higher visitor counts, there are ways to cut down on the crowds. So, take a tip from travel expert Rick Steves, who knows when to stop by the Château de Versailles and when to hightail it out of there.

Versailles fills with tourists on Sundays and Tuesdays

For first time visitors to Versailles, it's easy to think you won't have to invest hours into exploring the attraction. Take it from personal experience, Versailles is so massive you could easily spend a whole day taking in the complex. Travel experts agree that this sprawling property needs careful consideration in the planning stage of your trip. In a blog post on seeing Paris, Steves encourages visitors to "be realistic" with their time expectations for Versailles. Add this wisdom to your Rick Steves-informed approach to planning a successful vacation.


On top of that, Steves advises visitors to steer clear of two extremely busy days at the property. "When deciding where to plug in Versailles, remember that the main palace is closed on Mondays and especially crowded on Sundays and Tuesdays — try to avoid these days." The palace opens six days a week, giving more space for tourists than just the days bookending Monday. If you do happen to visit on Sunday or Tuesday and don't want to lose an entire day to the complex, consider showing up later in the afternoon. Crowds really drop off after 3 p.m. when the big groups depart.

What are the best days to visit Versailles?

Weekdays are often the best options for visiting tourist attractions anywhere you go. The same can be said for the Palace of Versailles, though Wednesday and Thursday stand out, as far fewer tourists tend to stop by. The downside to visiting during these days is that the garden fountains only operate on the other days of the week (except when the grounds remain closed on Mondays).


You could also head to Versailles during the tourist low season from November to March to avoid hordes of visitors. Not only are these less crowded times to see the palace, you'll also get to visit for free if you stop by on a Sunday during low season. You can use some of these terrific apps for making travel plans while putting together your Paris itinerary.

Do keep in mind that the palace and other places on the estate, like the gardens, have different operating hours during the low season, closing earlier than during the high season. For instance, the palace shuts its doors at 5:30 p.m. during the low season and 6:30 p.m. during the high season.