The Grand Canal is one of the most striking elements of the gardens at Versailles and a popular place for an afternoon picnic. It’s also possible to rent row boats for a trip out on the water, much like the king once took. Most bike and Segway tours of the palace grounds include a ride along the banks of the canal, sometimes with an included lunch at a restaurant looking out over the water.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Grand Canal is a highlight of the Palace of Versailles.
- Entry to the Grand Canal area is free—no ticket necessary.
- Versailles is wheelchair accessible, though rented wheelchairs cannot be taken outside the gardens and into the park.
- Make sure to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.
How to Get There
The Grand Canal is located within the Park, just beyond the gardens of Versailles. It can be accessed through several gates. The nearest train station is Versailles Château Rive Gauche.
When to Get There
Unlike the palace, the Park and Grand Canal are open throughout the year, except in inclement weather. Plan to visit the canal upon arrival at the grounds, continue through the gardens, and save your visit to the palace for later in the afternoon after the crowds have cleared somewhat.
Constructed over the course of a decade in the late seventeenth century, its original name—Little Venice—came from the canal's inaugural gifts from the Doge of Venice: two gondolas, complete with four Venetian gondoliers. Also moored there were various ships and yachts built to the scale of the canal and used in elaborate water shows and recreations of famous battles.
- Versailles Gardens (Jardins de Versailles)
- Versailles Fountains (Les Fontaines)
- Orangerie of Versailles (l’Orangerie de Versailles)
- Neptune Fountain (Bassin de Neptune)
- King’s State Apartment (Grand Appartement du Roi)
- Hall of Mirrors (Galerie des Glaces)
- Versailles Royal Chapel (La Chapelle Royale)
- Scent Courtyard (Cour des Senteurs)
- Marie-Antoinette's Estate
- Grand Trianon
- Royal Opera of Versailles (L'Opéra Royal du Château de Versailles)
- Academy of Equestrian Arts