After this post, I promise the Versailles posts will come to an end. It was just completely impossible to cramp everything into one post because there were so many things to admire and an overwhelming amount of Kodak moments. As I mentioned in the previous post, my friends and I were intent on bike riding through Versailles so we were thrilled when we found a bike rental place towards the end of the gardens. Since closing time was nearing, we only signed up for an hour and planned on biking straight to Marie Antoinette’s rustic paradise.
Getting ready for our trip
Once we left with the bikes, our direct trip to Marie Antoinette’s village was quickly interrupted by a poor sense of direction and a field of goats that we couldn’t help but stop to look at. But we successfully arrived!…with only 30 minutes before we had to return the bikes. Let me just say, I am so glad we didn’t freak out about time and head back without stopping by the hameau because it probably ended up being my favorite part of Versailles.
While all of Versailles is obviously very beautiful, the hameau has a different kind of beauty, one that is more quaint as if it came right out of Snow White. During Marie Antoinette’s time, she had the hameau built as a functioning farm which she could escape to when she grew tired of the hectic lifestyle at Versailles. Only a select group was actually allowed onto the property and the citizens of France got really riled up about the place because they thought it just showed off the excess spending of the royal family.
I quickly became obsessed with this pig!
Everything about the hameau was just so peaceful, it was a place a wouldn’t mind spending the rest of my life at and I found it very difficult to leave. Sadly, we had to bring back the bikes so our stay at the hameau remained short but surely memorable.
Seeing as my only class for the day has been cancelled, I’ve found this the perfect opportunity to continue my post on Versailles. As I said in the previous post, I made two trips; one to the Chateau and one to the gardens. Ohh the Versailles gardens, a place which I’m pretty sure embodies the ideals of beauty. The fountains, the statues, the symmetricality of the design, everything just comes together to create a place that young girls only dream of.
I’m so glad I was able to make it back to see the gardens before the weather got too cold because the vibrancy of the greens and the colors of the flowers really enhances the whole experience. It just amazes me that at one time people actually lived here and while it is incredibly well preserved, it makes you wonder how closely it resembles that time even down to the minute details like the shapes of the shrubbery.
After walking around for awhile, my friends and I got pretty hungry so we stopped at one of the cafes, which was surprisingly not terribly overpriced and I had a pretty good roasted chicken with fries and a salad for only 12 euros. We also got soft serve vanilla ice cream to go and it was absolutely amazing, I’ve never had soft serve with such strong vanilla flavor before! We eventually happened upon the Neptune Fountain which I had been so excited about seeing and it was just as impressive as they say it is.
Soon we happened upon this cute area at the end of the garden that seemed as if it came straight out of a painting. You could even rent the boats, which my friends and I were considering but we were banking on going for a bike ride and the bike rental place was closing soon so we had to rush to that. From there, we took a bike ride to Marie Antoinette’s village which I will be sure to embellish upon in the next post!
I can’t seem to fall asleep, so I figured why not begin my post of Versailles? This post is probably going to have to be divided into two or three parts because I’ve already gone on two visits. Honestly, I can’t really imagine seeing all of Versailles in one day, both the gardens and the chateau are massive!
The first trip I took was during my second weekend in Paris and I went with my school’s orientation program. Allegedly they were supposed to get us a discount but once I got to the ticket window I had to pay the full 15 euros for just access to the chateau (little did I know the gardens were extra. Either way, the chateau was absolutely beautiful! I’ve never seen a place filled with such extravagance in my entire life, King Louis XIV was not joking around when he had this place built.
The line to get into the Chateau was pretty long, but luckily it went by quickly. We also went on a Sunday which my guidebook had recommended to avoid (along with Tuesday) because it’s one of the most popular days since a lot of things are closed on Sundays. While they clearly try to make your trip to Versailles as authentic as possible, with classical music playing in the background, it is just so difficult to try and comprehend what it was like to walk through the hallways as Marie Antoinette with so many people surrounding you. However, I was still able to appreciate the evident detail that went into every aspect of designing this breathe-takingly beautiful space.
It probably took us about 2 hours to walk through the entire place, and as expected the Hall of Mirrors was stunning. The way that the view of the gardens reflected off of the mirrors was indescribable. If I write about this visit for too long I feel like I will just talk about its beauty in ten different ways (although the rooms got monotonous at times with the same general set up just in different color schemes) so I’ll cut it short. This was a visit definitely worth making and the views of the gardens inspired me to take time the next weekend to explore the gardens while the weather is still nice, a trip I’ll write about in my next post.