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How to Get an Empty Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors Photo!

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The Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors is one of the most beautiful and opulent rooms you can visit in the entire world. 

It was the Louis XIV’s, or the Sun King’s, pièce de résistance and a grand Baroque gallery at his court in 17th-century France.

It’s breathtaking and filled with gorgeous murals, gilded bronze statues, and glittering chandeliers. Every wall is covered in reflective mirrors which were really expensive at the time. 

The wealth required to build this room is inconceivable. The entire gallery and adjoining salons were designed to illustrate the king’s absolute power as a monarch.

Chateau de Versailles roughly sees over 7 million visitors per year and the Hall of Mirrors is always crowded with tourists.

But, there are ways where you can try and take a Hall of Mirrors photo without lots of people on your visit. 

Here are my top tips on how to get an empty Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors photo!

How to get an Empty Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors Photo
Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors
Versailles Hall of Mirrors

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors history 

King Louis XIII ordered Versailles to be built in 1623 but back then it was only a two-storey hunting lodge. He later enlarged the residence into a small chateau in 1634.

It was King Louis XIV that transformed the Palace of Versailles into a grand Baroque palace. He declared it his future permanent residence in 1661. 

Palace of Versailles Marble Courtyard
Marble courtyard, Versailles

The Hall of Mirrors was built between 1678 and 1684 to replace a large outdoor terrace with smaller salons that would often be subject to the elements. 

It was considered impractical due to bad weather so it was closed in and replaced with this breathtaking room!

The Mirror Hall gallery was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and the artist Charles de Brun decorated the ceilings with paintings. 

The King would stroll through this hall and so courtiers would often walk through here on their way from the King’s to the Queen’s apartments. It served as a place for waiting, meeting and a place to be seen. 

Hall of Mirrors Versailes

Although rare, it was also used for musical performances and ceremonies like royal balls and weddings. 

Sometimes, the throne was placed at the end of the hall and ambassadors would be led through under the scrutiny of the French court for diplomatic discussions.

Most famously, the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles was chosen as the place where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919. 

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors

Versailles Hall of Mirrors facts 

  • The Hall of Mirrors took 6 years to build between 1678 and 1684 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart
  • The Hall of Mirrors isn’t just one gallery, it includes adjoining salons of the War Room and Peace Room. The gallery sits in between the Kings and Queens apartments
  • All of the paintings on the ceilings and walls are by Charles Le Brun. Each painting glorifies the Sun King and tells a story of the French Empire.
  • In the centre of the vault, you can see a painting of Louis XIV represented as a great warrior sitting on his throne in armour. He is surrounded by the Three Graces and the Gods of Olympus including Minerva the goddess of wisdom and Mars the god of war.
  • There are 357 mirrors, 43 chandeliers, 17 large windows
  • The Hall of Mirrors is 73 metres long
Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors
Versailles War Salon
War Salon, Versailles

How to visit the Hall of Mirrors

To visit the Hall of Mirrors in France, you do need to purchase a ticket to the Palace of Versailles and visit it as part of your tour. 

You’ll find the Galerie des Glaces on the first floor of the State Apartments or King’s private apartments.

You don’t need to buy skip-the-line tickets anymore as the palace has introduced Versailles Passports with timed entry tickets. 

These tickets are guaranteed to give you entry into the palace within the hour that you’ve booked them which is great as queues used to be miles long!

Versailles passports are usually 21.50 euros for an adult. Under-18s go inside for free and under-26-year-olds go inside for free if they reside in the EU. Make sure to bring your ID as proof of age. 

Also, on the first Sunday of every month from November to March the palace is FREE to enter.

Versailles Hall of Mirrors Peace Room
Peace Salon, Versailles

How to get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris

Many people make the mistake of thinking that the Palace of Versailles is in the city centre of Paris as it is normally advertised as something to do there. But, actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Versailles is located around an hour outside the city to the South East and so you’ll need to plan your way there before you visit.

Luckily, it’s easy to access Versailles on the Paris Metro by taking the RER C (Yellow Line). It will take roughly 40 minutes from the Eiffel Tower area and 50 minutes from the Louvre area.

There are also 3 train stations in the town of Versailles so it’s important to alight at the right one. 

The closest stop for the Palace of Versailles on the RER C is ‘Versailles – Château – Rive Gauche’. It’s then a 10-minute walk to the entry gates of the palace. 

Alternatively, you can take a taxi or drive to Versailles. But, the Paris Metro would be the most economically friendly option for time and money. 

Versailles Hall of Mirrors Photo

How to get an Empty Versailles Hall of Mirrors Photo

If like me, getting an empty Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors photo or video is important to you I have a few tips to help you achieve that below.

Fair warning, this isn’t an exact science and it’s not going to be a guarantee that it will be completely empty on your visit. 

But, these tips will definitely help you plan your trip to Versailles so that the Hall of Mirrors is a lot quieter!

Here are my top tips on how to get an empty Versailles Hall of Mirrors photo.

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors
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1. Visit in the off or shoulder seasons

Before you even start booking your trip to Paris and Versailles, it’s always worth considering visiting in the shoulder seasons of Spring or Autumn or the off-season of Winter. 

In the summer season (June – August), the Palace of Versailles can see thousands of visitors per day and the crowds can be unbearable.

To put it into context, Versailles sees over 7 million visitors a year and the majority of those are in high season!

It’s not impossible to get an empty Versailles Hall of Mirrors photo in summer but It would need extreme patience and coordination – you’d have to be very lucky.

The gardens of Versailles in winter can be pretty bleak so visiting in the shoulder seasons can still mean great weather but fewer crowds. 

I visited in early October and it was still really sunny and warm! Plus, the gardens were still lush and green with a few flowers. 

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors

2. Consider staying over in Versailles

Although visiting Versailles from Paris is easy to do via the RER C Metro, it’s still quite a journey from Paris if you wanted to make it to the palace opening time at 9 am. 

If you want an empty Versailles Hall of Mirrors photo, I would always recommend getting in the queue an hour before opening around 8 am. 

This means leaving Paris around 7 am. Yawn, you’re on vacation not a work commute!

Personally, to avoid an early wake-up call, I would consider staying in the town of Versailles instead of in Paris for the night. It will make things a lot easier and less stressful to get there on time. 

I stayed over for the night and enjoyed 2 days exploring the palace and the estate. I swear you could spend a week in Versailles – the estate is so vast and there is so much to do. 

Click here to look at all the Versailles hotel options in the area!

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors

3. Go self-guided and don’t book a tour

Although booking a guided tour can be a great thing to do to learn about the history of the Palace of Versailles, it’s not entirely necessary. 

Also, if you wanted an empty Hall of Mirrors photo, going self-guided is a must. Big group tours will rush you through the Galerie des Glaces and you’ll be there at peak times for crowds. 

It’s easy enough to pre-book a Versailles Passport that allows you entry into the entire estate and you can explore the palace self-guided. 

I would highly recommend downloading the FREE ‘Chateau de Versailles’ mobile app. This acts as both a map and an audio guide where you can learn about every part of the palace and the estate. It’s also in many different languages. You can even download it before you visit (the Hall of Mirrors is item 210).

Versailles Hall of Mirrors Empty

4. Avoid a weekend and visit Versailles on a Thursday – the quietest day!

Like most tourist attractions, the busiest days at the Palace of Versailles would be on a weekend. 

So, if you wanted to avoid crowds and get your empty Hall of Mirrors photo, I would try to book your palace visit for a weekday.

The Palais de Versailles is shut on a Monday like most museums in Paris. So, Tuesday is the busiest day. Definitely avoid it if you want an empty Hall of Mirrors photo! 

From most of my research (and I did A LOT of research), most people said that Wednesdays and Thursdays seemed to be the quietest day for crowds.

I visited the palace on a late Thursday afternoon and it was indeed very quiet. I had most rooms to myself.

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors

5. Visit the Hall of Mirrors as soon as the palace opens at 9 am

A great way to see the Hall of Mirrors empty would be to walk here as soon as the palace opens at 9 am. 

But, you would need to get in the queue early to be one the first ones into the palace. Most early birds start to wait around 8 am when the grounds open to be first in line. 

Once you’re through security make sure to hurry to the King’s Apartments to be one of the first in the Hall of Mirrors. I’ve provided some detailed instructions on how to locate the room below. 

I got here around 8.45 am and was around 50th in the queue on a Friday. I was thinking that it would be impossible at this point. 

But, I walked straight to the Hall of Mirrors and there were only one or two people in there at that time! 

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors
This was in the morning around 9.15 am. Angle low to block people out!

Where is the Hall of Mirrors located in Versailles?

The Hall of Mirrors is located on the first floor of the King’s Apartment area of Versailles overlooking the gardens. 

So, if you’re like me and love to plan your route to get straight to your photography location before the crowds, then I’ll provide you with directions.

The Hall of Mirrors or Galerie des Glaces is in the King’s Apartments at Versailles. 

This is NOT in the building where you first enter Versailles after the security queue at Entrance A. That’s the prince’s apartments.

Once you’re through the security queue, you’re going to leave the first building and walk directly across the cobbled courtyard (the golden gates will be on your right) to the King’s Apartment building straight ahead of you.

This isn’t the black and white marbled floor area on the far left – that’s the exit to the King’s Apartments. 

Head down this long marbled corridor with statues on either side, turn left at the end and then head up the stairs to the first floor. 

Then, you’re going to follow this guided route of the King’s Apartment rooms (don’t stop walking) until you reach the Hall of Mirrors! 

Versailles does have a one-way system in some places but you can easily go back around the rooms that you missed afterward once you’ve got your empty Versailles Hall of Mirrors photos. 

Versailles statue corridor
Head down this corridor and up the stairs!

6. Visit the Versailles Hall of Mirrors just before closing time

Alternatively, if you value your sleep, you could always opt to visit the Hall of Mirrors at the very end of the day when the palace closes around 5.30 pm in the low season and 6.30 pm in the high season. 

Now, you will need to be in the King’s Apartment area around 30-60 minutes before closing as they start shutting doors off on the route but this is a great way to get photos without many people.

At closing time, the staff security will start ushering you out of the Hall of Mirrors through the one-way system. But, the good news is the room is symmetrical.

So, when you get to the very end of Galeries de Glaces simply turn around, and viola – you get an empty Hall of Mirrors once everyone has left! 

The staff were actually super kind and took all of my photos and videos for me as I was travelling solo. I was so happy with how they turned out. 

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors
Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors photos
These photos were just before palace closing time

7. Have some (extreme) patience! 

One of the obvious ways to get photos in the Hall of Mirrors without as many people is to have some patience. 

I will fully admit, I have limited patience and that’s why I decided to do my research and try and get it as empty as possible. 

But, if you’re normal, a little patience certainly pays off at Versailles with the number of people who visit. 

Most people are listening to audio guides, following their tour guide, or just admiring the opulence of this place. 

They aren’t really paying attention to your mobile or camera and will most likely walk in your photo. 

Let them pass and eventually, a clearer spot will open up. It may be a small window but it’s better than a hundred people in your photo! 

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors

8. Visit over two or three days

Most people visit the Palace of Versailles on a half-day or day trip from Paris. But, if your itinerary can afford it, I would opt to stay for a few days at Versailles.

Versailles is far more than just the palace. You have the formal gardens, Grand Canal, Grand Trianon, Petite Trianon, the Queen’s Hamlet, and the outer grounds too. 

You could spend days walking or cycling around the estate. Plus, the town of Versailles is worth looking around too. 

Having a few days at Versailles would also mean more chances at catching the Versailles Hall of Mirrors empty for photos. 

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors

9. Use Photoshop or the Touch Retouch mobile app!

If all of the above tips fail, there are always editing apps to take people out of photographs.

If you’re not familiar with Photoshop or you don’t want to spend money on expensive software – I always use an app called ‘Touch Retouch’ for edits.

Touch Retouch allows you to easily edit out people or things in your photos that you don’t want on your phone. 

It does have a fee of around $3.99 but it’s a one-time fee so once you have it downloaded, you have it for life!

It’s not a miracle worker and it won’t edit out everyone in the Hall of Mirrors perfectly but it’s enough to take a lot out of the bits that spoil the photo.  

Click here to download Touch Retouch on the Apple Store or GooglePlay!

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors

10. Stay at Airelles Château de Versailles

If money is no object, there is a way to get a private viewing of the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.

There is a hotel on the palace grounds called Airelles Château de Versailles where you can stay in a private home called Le Grand Contrôle!

It was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Louis XIV’s favourite architect. There are 11 rooms and 2 signature suites. 

It costs minimum of 2,000 Euro a night but you get your own butler service, meals cooked by a Michelin star chef, a Marie-Antoinette afternoon tea, and a private buggy tour of the estate grounds.

The best part is an exclusive viewing of the Palace of Versailles in the morning before it opens up to the crowds. So, you’re guaranteed to have the Hall of Mirrors to yourself! 

Click here to book your stay at Airelles Château de Versailles

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors

Photography rules at Versailles

Here are some of the photography rules in Versailles so you don’t get caught out on your visit;

  • Tripods and selfie sticks are banned – Like most places tripods are banned at the palace museum. You can use them in the gardens and on the estate though. 
  • You are allowed to take photos and videos – photos and videos are permitted at the palace. DSLR cameras are permitted as well as phones. 
  • Don’t use a flash – you mustn’t use a flash inside the palace to avoid damage to the pigments in priceless paintings. 
  • Drones are banned – Drones are not permitted to be flown anywhere on the Versailles estate unless you have express permission. 
  • In some rooms photos are not allowed – there are signs letting you know if you can’t take photos in a particular room. If in doubt, ask a staff member. 
Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors
Versailles Hall of Mirrors

Discover more of King Louis XIV’s spectacular Versailles estate!

There is far more to the Chateau de Versailles than the Hall of Mirrors. The whole palace is the finest example of 17th-century French architecture and one of the grandest homes on Earth. 

The Sun King’s palace was the envy of the aristocratic world and plenty of royal families in Europe and beyond based their palaces, mansions, and gardens on Versailles. 

It’s opulent, spectacular, and lavish and there are hundreds of rooms to explore on your tour.

But, it’s easy to forget that the Palace of Versailles is more than just the palace too. There is an entire estate that surrounds it that stretches for miles. 

It’s easiest to walk around the Formal Gardens but you can cycle, hire a buggy or buy a ticket for the Petite Train for the wider estate as it is that big! 

Highlights include the Formal Gardens, Musical Water Fountains, and the Grand Canal where you can hire boats in the summer.

You can also visit Grand Trianon where the King liked to escape court for some private time alone. It’s a miniature version of the palace and even has its own Hall of Mirrors. 

Grand Trianon Versailles
Grand Trianon

My personal favourite area was Petite Trianon with the adjoining Queen’s Hamlet – the personal abode of Marie Antionette! 

The Queen’s Hamlet looks like a fairytale as it was specifically made as a faux-medieval village based on landscape portraits.

Also, don’t forget to visit the Angelina café at the palace which serves up the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

They had the most delicious pastries too. I can recommend the Demoiselle Tatin that had caramelized apples, vanilla mousse, and gold leaf on top! 

There are also exhibitions, guard rooms, stables, the carriage hall, and many more attractions included in your ticket. 

You can fit everything into one day at Versailles if you’re speedy but I’d say two days would allow you to see it at a leisurely pace without burning out. 

Queen's Hamlet Versailles
Queen’s Hamlet, Versailles
Angelina's Versailles
Angelina Versailles

Palace of Versailles ticket prices

Versailles now allows you to book tickets online with a guaranteed time slot for entry in advance so there is no need to buy ‘skip-the-line’ tickets anymore. Booking a time slot is mandatory for all visitors.

There are many different types of tickets you can buy for Versailles. For example, you can just book tickets for the palace, gardens, and/or Trianon. Plus, there are tickets with meals and the Petite Train.

I would recommend booking the Versailles Passport with a timed entry that grants you access to the entire estate. If you want to visit for the opening time make sure to book a 9 am ticket slot.

Versailles passports are usually 21.50 euros for an adult. Under-18s go inside for free and under-26-year-olds go inside for free if they reside in the EU. Make sure to bring your ID as proof of age. 

Also, on the first Sunday of every month from November to March the palace is FREE to enter. But, it will be really busy. Not great for an empty Hall of Mirrors photo! 

Note: Passport tickets are always more expensive (27 Euro) on the days when the musical water fountain show is on in the gardens. This is a mandatory fee you can’t avoid. If you want to save money, book on a day it isn’t running. 

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors

Palace of Versailles opening times

The Palace of Versailles is normally open from 9 am – 6.30 pm in the high season (April – October) with the last entry at 6 pm.

It’s then open from 9 am – 5.30 pm in the low season (November – March) with the last entry at 5 pm. 

The gardens are usually open from 8 am – 8.30 pm in high season and 8 am – 6 pm in the low season. 

There will always be exceptions throughout the year so it’s always worth checking the official Versailles website for the latest opening times for your visit 

Palace of Versailles golden gates
The Golden Gates of Versailles <3

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Save the Versailles Hall of Mirrors for later!

How to get an empty Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors photo

Kiki Toth

Sunday 30th of April 2023

I'm confused as to how to get to the Hall of Mirrors. What door do you go through? Would love to be in there with very few people. Thanks in advance!

Keshava Camelia

Friday 16th of June 2023

@Sophie Pearce, Hi Sophie, I would like to go with a proffesional photographor you think that is possible? Hé tells me a photoshoot is not allowed.

Sophie Pearce

Monday 1st of May 2023

Hi Kiki, so essentially you enter the Palace of Versailles through a building called the Princes' apartments. You need to leave that building and step into the outer courtyard. Head straight across the the King's apartments and follow the route upstairs until you reach the Hall of Mirrors. Hope this helps! and Good luck getting the photos! Sophie x