pia and i arrived at the rive gauche-versailles station and walked to our hotel, the trianon palace. this luxurious treat was a gift from my son-in-law that spoiled us for a night. we stayed in and enjoyed the hotel, had dinner, hit the pool&spa and relaxed for a big day at the chateau de versailles.
this was our second visit to versailles. the first one, though separately, was confined to the palace and its gardens. it was wonderful to see it again and my favorites were the royal chapel, some royal chambers and of course the hall of mirrors, symbolic of power, wealth and dominance. we walked the gardens at leisure and lunched at la flottile. we explored le petit trianon, the residence of the iconic but ill-fated queen, marie-antoinette and visited the queen’s hamlet, a village she constructed.
the grounds of versailles
petit trianon is a small chateau on the grounds of versailles given by louis xvi for marie antoinette to live away from the court. detaching from royal traditions, she reinstated petit trianon as a guarded and preserved place, imposed her personal taste and lived as she wished. petit trianon was a sanctuary for the queen, a convenient escape from the rigors and boredom of royal etiquette.
as if petit trianon was not far enough from the palace’s gossips and ogles, marie-antoinette constructed an extension called the queen’s hamlet, a stark contrast to the grandeur and opulence of the palace. it is a rustic village that offered the charms of country life – houses and cottages, a pond, vegetables and flowering gardens, barn, and an orchard. she also had a farm and livestock directed by a farmer located outside but close to the village. the queen’s hamlet was a place she loved most where she enjoyed simple, rural life far cry from the formality and pomposity of versailles. there, the queen probably was happiest with her children surrounded by her most loyal attendants.