Biking in Versailles

posted by Sharon Odegaard 39 Comments

Biking in Versailles is not only enjoyable but also a great way to cover ground at the massive palace. Versailles is known for the palace that housed kings and queens and hosted the treaty negotiations at the end of WWI. Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI lived here until their arrest and early deaths. The palace and grounds occupy a vast area, and a great way to tour the outside is by bicycle. We signed up for the all-day tour with Fat Tire Tours and we’re so glad we did. This day is definitely a highlight of our time in Paris.

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Exploring the City of Versailles

Discovering the little city of Versailles proved to be one of the unexpected pleasures of the day. Many people ride the train from Paris for about 30 minutes, get off at the train station, and go right to the palace. We headed instead to downtown Versailles to pick up our bikes at the company office there.


That day happened to be market day in Versailles, which is famed for one of the best farmer’s markets in France. Our guide turned us loose to find something for our picnic lunch. Cheeses, fruit, fresh baguettes – we were spoiled for choice. And it was fun to mingle with the locals who were out doing their grocery shopping.

VersaillesVersaillesVersaillesVersaillesVersaillesVersaillesVersaillesVersaillesVersailles has no lack of fancy pastries. And the homemade caramels melt in your mouth. VersaillesVersaillesVersailles

The first king to occupy the palace here was Louis XIV. Then Louis XV and Louis XVI lived here until the government returned to Paris. This is a mural of one of the kings. As there are no photographs from those years, I’m not sure which Louis this is. Any experts out there want to chime in?


After carefully choosing from among all the bounty, we carried our bags of food through the town to do a little sightseeing.


Biking in Versailles – on to the Palace

Back at the bikes, we stashed our goodies and headed to the palace grounds. Versailles

The greenery at Versailles Palace

Our excellent guide Drew gave us a brief history of Versailles as we took in the beauty of the greenery.



A picnic at the Grand Canal

For lunch, we rode to the end of the grand canal and set up our picnic on the lawn. Our guide provided plates and utensils and the all-important corkscrew. We settled back to bask in the view of the vast backyard of the palace.

VersaillesVersaillesVersaillesVersaillesVersailles IMG_1830Fortified by our fresh French food, we got back on our bikes and rode towards the Palace. A day of biking in Versailles proved to be a fantastic experience!

Read more about Versailles: The Palace of Versailles and Marie Antoinette’s Play Village


For comprehensive information on tours, hours, prices, and history, visit this website.

The palace is open every day except Monday from 9:00 to 5:30. You can purchase general admission tickets online before you go to save time in line.

The gardens are open every day for no charge.

Fat Tire Tours offers tours of Paris, Versailles, and Giverny. The two tours we have been on have been very well organized and the guides are fun and knowledgeable. I highly recommend this company.

Where to stay

Paris offers hundreds of hotels. It’s sometimes overwhelming to start looking for a place to stay. Here are a few suggestions for lovely hotels near some of the sites mentioned. With the excellent Paris Metro system, you will be able to arrive wherever you like with just a little planning.

Near the Invalides: The Hotel de Varenne is exquisitely decorated and includes an inviting patio. You can walk from here to the Invalides as well as the Rodin Museum. (7th arrondissement)

Book your stay at the elegant Hotel de Varenne around the corner from the Rodin Museum.

Near the Pantheon: Hotel des Grand Hommes and (right next door) the Hotel les Dames du Pantheon. Both of these elegant hotels are across the street from the Pantheon. From my balcony room at the Grand Hommes I watched the sun rise on the iconic Pantheon. (5th arrondissement)

Book your stay at the Hotel des Grand Hommes and enjoy a view of the stately Pantheon out your window.

A gem in the Latin Quarter: Hotel Serotel Lutece is in the Latin Quarter. You can also walk from here to the Pantheon, Notre Dame, and Sainte-Chapelle. Not only is this a comfortable, attractive hotel, but I also found the staff here to be extra helpful with directions and information. (5th arrondissement)

Book your stay at the cozy Hotel Serotel Lutece in a walkable neighborhood near metro stations, shops, and restaurants.

Central to wherever you want to go: Hotel Moliere, themed on the French poet, is a delightful hotel near the Louvre. It is surprisingly affordable for this pricey area. You can walk or take the Metro to any sites you would like to visit. (1st arrondissement)

Book your stay at Hotel Moliere near the Louvre and the lovely Tuileries Garden.

Consider a side trip to the D-Day Beaches and Normandy

History comes alive when you visit the D-Day Beaches in Normandy. Just a two-hour train ride or drive from Paris, the Normandy beaches offer battle sites and museums. Pay respects at the many somber cemeteries. Stay in charming Bayeux. Normandy makes a great side trip if you are going to Paris.

Book the elegant Hotel Churchill in Bayeux, the perfect base for exploring the D-Day Beaches.

Places to visit include Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, and Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches. If you have time, include all 5 D-Day Beaches in your itinerary for an amazing overview of June 6, 1944 and Operation Overlord


Take a tour and explore Paris!



Paris WWII Sites for History Lovers
A Few Hours in Paris
The Invalides – Where Paris History Comes Alive
Reasons to Visit the Eiffel Tower
The Conciergerie – Marie Antoinette’s Prison
Tips for Your First Trip to Paris
Climbing Up Into the Eiffel Tower
Exploring the Rodin Museum
5 Reasons to Visit Luxembourg Gardens
Paris Gardens to Enjoy
The D’Orsay Museum in Paris
A Walk in the Latin Quarter
Ageless Beauty at Sainte-Chapelle

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Biking in Versailles
Biking in VersaillesSharon Odegaard bio

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Jim, Sydney, Australia at

Fantastic shots. Cake shop window looks so yummy.

t at

…one of the most regal murals that I’ve seen.

handmade by amalia at

This looks like a brilliant day out. The city, and especially the market, look beautiful. I’m another who’ve been to the palace and completely missed the town. Now I want to go back.

Margaret Birding For Pleasure at

What a wonderful fun thing to do and those markets are so full off colourful things to buy and eat. Great idea having a guide on a bike

Handmade in Israel at

What a wonderful day out! I love that you picked up your lunch first! Everything looks so beautiful.

Mersad at

Wonderful images. You had a great day and used it wisely! 😀 Thank you for linking in with “Through My Lens”

Tamar Strauss-Benjamin at

All of that food looks amazing!!

kelleyn rothaermel at

What a fun day! Those cakes have me drooling!

Carol at

Looks like such a fun tour, and don’t get me started on the pastries.

Kat at

How cool are you?! I used to love getting around on bikes in Europe! I don’t know why, but I felt safer on a bike there than anywhere else.

Sharon Anck at

Oh my, I’m suddenly very hungry and I fear I won’t find anything to eat nearly as gorgeous as you’ve shown us here. Wonderful tour.

Photo(Geo)grapher at

Great post. A lot of nice pictures, but the first one is my favorite

jesh StG at

Oh, now you made me hungry for baguette, eclairs and cheese!! Interesting (but I guess not for Europe) to have a guided bike tour:)
Nice of the guide to provide utensils:) Smiled at the photo of you two – you look so Californian:):) Am sure that when you travel a lot, you can have a good guess from which country a person is, just by their clothes and demeanor:)
Thank you for sharing your bike tour in Versailles with ALL SEASONS:) Have a happy week!

bettyl - NZ at

Thanks for taking us along on your tour of the city. What great sights, especially those yummy goodies!

Oakland Daily Photo at

His majesty is still looking majestic. Thanks for contributing to this week’s Monday Mural.

Rajesh at

Beautiful tour of the place on the bike.

Lessandra Grimley at

Looks fantastic! I hope to go there some day!

Rhonda Albom at

You have a great idea of cycling through Versailles and picking up some food at the market for a picnic.I think the sweets would have won out over the healthy food for my family.

Klara S at

Fantastic pictures. I love shots of park the most. All fruits and sweets look delicious!

Phoebe | Lou Messugo at

What a lovely and unusual way to visit Versailles, the picnic spot looks perfect. I run a monthly linky #AllAboutFrance which is on now (closes tomorrow) if you’d like to add this to it. You’ll find the details in my blog.

Lolo at

OMG I love this idea sooooo much! Pinned!! I’ve been to Versailles but after Christmas, so it was cold and gloomy, so it definitely was not as beautiful as this! #CityTripping

Hilary at

Lovely!! We recently visited Versailles, and really enjoyed walking through the town before heading to the Palace. We weren’t there on market day, or I’m not sure we would have made it further than those amazing looking desserts! #citytripping

Mandy at

My husband and I stayed at night in Versailles and got up early the morning before we had to fly home to explore the market. The people there were so nice! And, of course, we found the perfect breakfast! Maybe I’ll return one day and explore Versailles further! 🙂

Liz at

What an interesting town! That first image is fabulous!!

Susanne at

Such pretty photos and what a nice day you must have had in Versailles!!

Marti at

That is a great farmer’s market. The fruits and veggies look so fresh! Do you bike often so you were in shape to ride a bike all day? I’m not sure I could do that, but it does look like a good way to see the city.

Emma Raphael at

How lovely that you got to see some of the real Versaille as well as the main sights. The bike ride sounds really lovely! #citytripping

Phoebe | Lou Messugo at

Thanks for linking to #AllAboutFrance, I hope you come back again next month.

Ruth at

Activities and tours like this are my kind of thing. I have been to the Palace of Versailles but not to the town. After seeing your pictures, I can see that the town is very colorful and cheerful. I would have indulged like crazy on that market. #TPThursday

Laura at

That sounds like a perfect day! I’d love to have a fresh French picnic like that one day, but in the meantime, your words and photos allowed me to have an imaginary one in my head. I’ve been to Giverny but didn’t know they offered a bike tour- another reason to go back!

Rhonda Albom at

We sure missed out on a treat by only going to the palace when we were in Versailles. What a charming town, and how lucky for you it was market day. The food looks so fresh and delicious.

Katy Clarke at

I love bike tours and French markets so this might be the perfect tour for me! I havent been to Versailles for many years but I think I might need to revisit after reading your post. Thanks for joining us on #farawayfiles

Cathy (Mummytravels) at

What a great way to explore Versailles. I’ve been a couple of times but have always focused more on the palaces than seeing something like the market. Must be lovely to cycle around. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

Jim ~ ReflectionsEnroute at

What a gorgeous ride! I love how you led with the food shots! That eclair would have been on my picnic lunch list for sure. Thanks for linking in this week at #wkendtravelinspiration!

Elizabeth (Wander Mum) at

Great idea! I didn’t know much about Versailles other than the palace so a great insight into the area. #citytripping

Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) at

I love this idea! We did end up spending all day at the palace and grounds, but would love to spend some time around town. Hopping on a bike sounds wonderful! Our list of notes for our next visit is getting very long! 😉 Thanks for the idea!

Erin Gustafson | Oregon Girl Around the World at

Ohhh – what a great idea! I will admit that when I started reading – I had a moment – Versailles has a town too? Zut alors! That market! Yes please. Thank you for sharing with #FarawayFiles – cheers from Copenhagen where we all ride bikes all the time! Erin

Faraway Files #22 - oregon girl around the world at


Kimberly at

Versailles is one of my favorite places to visit. My favorite thing to do is saunter around the grounds. I haven’t tried Fat Tire yet but I want too!



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