When my mom and my sister came to spend a week or two in Paris for my graduation we took advantage of the weather on one of the first real spring days and went to Versailles. Amazingly enough, as much as I am fascinated by Marie Antoinette and european royal society in general, I had never been to Versailles! I was lucky enough once to take part in an amazing private tour of Vaux le Vicomte, the chateau that inspired Versailles, and had ever since been dying to go but it just never seemed the right time. Vaux le Vicomte was built by one of Louis XIV’s ministers, and when the king saw it he was so jealous he dreamed up a scandal and accused the minister and chateau’s owner of fraud and imprisoned him. Soon after he broke ground on the even grander Versailles, which became then became the primary residence of the royal court. Some of you might recognize this song from the soundtrack of the film Marie Antoinette. I loved it so much I taught myself to play it on the piano.
Versailles is the ultimate example of a French garden. French gardens are all about taming nature, hence the topiaries.
It was such a sunny day a lot of my photos seemed to be a bit washed out.
Looking out over the grounds I felt a little bit like a modern Marie Antoinette.
On the grand canal you can rent little row boats and float around in the sun.
As an experienced rower I had to take over because my ladies in waiting proved unfit for the job.
And of coarse just like Marie had her cherished pug Mops, I brought my little “pug” Poupée so she could see Versailles as well. Mops was taken away from Marie when she came into France from Austria but later on Count Mercy arranged for her pug to be sent to her after her marriage.
After all the extravagance of Versailles Marie Antoinette had a small village in the style of a Norman peasant village constructed on the grounds.
She would escape here to tend to gardens and be closer to the simple things in life.
She loved animals and kept many in and around her little village.
My sister and I noted on the map that there was a convenient macaron icon in the key so one could be sure and pick some of those up at every opportunity. I hope you enjoyed your little trip to the grounds of Versailles. I did not actually visit the palace this time as we ran out of time (Versailles is massive) but I will be back soon. It is free to visit all of the gardens of Versailles and no waiting in line necessary. A little local’s tip from me to all of you would be to visit the gardens on a Monday when the palace is closed. The place feels like it’s all your own as you can picnic along the grand canal and explore all the hidden outdoor corners of this place.