In 1682, the year the French Court was definitively installed at the Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV had the Great and Small Stables built to accommodate more than 600 horses. Horses have been a major feature at Versailles ever since, so it’s only natural that the equestrian events, as well as the modern pentathlon, of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will take place in the Park of the Palace of Versailles.
The Palace of Versailles: host venue for Paris 2024
Horses have been a strong presence at Versailles since it was built in 1623, whether working in the service of the royal family or courtiers, being used for sport and entertainment purposes, or as a demonstration of monarchical power. These days, their presence is also felt in the Great and Small Stables, the Gallery of Coaches and, since 2003, the National Equestrian Academy of the Estate of Versailles.
Temporary installations will be erected to provide an exceptional historical setting without harming the heritage, gardens and park of Versailles. In addition, temporary facilities, including several grandstands, will be set up near the Royal Star esplanade, located to the west of the Grand Canal, on the edge of the Park. Two eventing disciplines will take place here – a dressage test and a showjumping test – as will the dressage and showjumping competitions for both the Olympics and Paralympics.
The individual and team cross-country eventing tests will take place by the Grand Canal, while the five events of the modern pentathlon (swimming, fencing, riding, running and shooting) will also be held at the Palace of Versailles.
Cross-country eventing test
Paris 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games sports at Versailles
Equestrian events :
- Individual eventing (open)
- Team eventing (open)Individual dressage (open)
- Team dressage (open)
- Individual showjumping (open)
- Team showjumping (open)
- Team para dressage (open)
- Individual para dressage (open)
- Freestyle (open)
Modern pentathlon events :
- Riding (women/men)
- Swimming (women/men)
- Laser run, shooting and running (women/men)
- Fencing, bonus round (women/men)
Several major restoration projects are under way at the Palace of Versailles that are scheduled for completion in the first half of 2024, to ensure that visitors from all over the world can experience the Palace and its gardens at their best. These include works to restore the Honour Gate, the Œil-de-Bœuf Antechamber, the roofs of the North Wing, the banks of the Grand Canal and the roofs of the Grand Trianon, as well as the construction of a new reception area for school groups in the gardens.
Other work is taking place around the Royal Star, venue for the eventing disciplines, to improve access for the athletes, optimise logistics management and ensure the smooth running of the games, while also preserving the heritage of the estate of Versailles and enabling its historic elements to be restored.
Once the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are over, the temporary structures will all be dismantled to leave no trace.
getting to the events
Public transport provider Ile-de-France Mobilités is planning to operate shuttles to take spectators from the train stations nearest the site to a drop-off point close to the RD10. From here, spectators will follow a pedestrian route to the event site via the Versailles Park walkways.
The Palace of Versailles can be reached by RER and suburban trains from the following stations:
- “Versailles Chantiers” station, served by RER line C, the N train from Montparnasse station in Paris and the U train from La Défense station.
- “Versailles Château” station, served by RER line C.
- “Versailles Rive Droite” station, served by the L train from Saint-Lazare station in Paris.
To make it easier for spectators to get to the competition sites, dedicated direct bus services will run to them from these stations. Spectators are advised to leave enough time to get to their destination and to arrive at the competition site in good time. Access for visitors to Versailles.
Only the areas in the immediate vicinity of the events, in the western part of the Park, will be accessible to holders of tickets for the Olympic and Paralympic events.
A special cultural programme
To coincide with its hosting of events during the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, the Palace of Versailles is devoting part of its event programme to the Cultural Olympiad, with the aim of bringing culture and sport – or, as Pierre de Coubertin put it, “muscles and mind” – together. The Palace of Versailles is, in fact, the only museum to be a “host venue” and a number of cultural events are planned or already running :
- The “Horse in Majesty” exhibition, opening summer 2024
- Unique guided tours on the themes of sport and the arts: Versailles, Games, and Sports; Dancing at Court; Gods and Heroes; Versailles by Horse or by Carriage; Horses in Art; and a bicycle tour of the Great Park
- Pentathlon of the Arts
- Stop off at Versailles: Dreams in Motion
- Flourishing Versailles: Skills to Hand Down
- “A Night in the Château de Versailles” – a map in the video game Just Dance 2024 Edition, created in partnership with Ubisoft and the CNC.
Some of these projects have been awarded the Cultural Olympiad label.