Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sundays....In Paris

Ok, seeing we're still at the 'Palace of Versailles' this morning, let's head down to stake out the 'Palaces of Trianon' and Marie Antoinette's Estate. I hear they are shooting a movie down there. If I use my zoom on the trusty old iPhone, I might catch an actor in full period costume. There's one!

I am desperate to see the Petit Trianon. Let's head there first.

A rather unassuming entrance to all the glamour.

The Grande Trianon was built in 1687-1688, to be the recreational residence for Louis XIV and his family. The estate was completed in 1763-1768 by the 'Petit Trianon', in the neoclassical style then in vogue. The Petit Trianon was built originally for the private use of Louis XV and Madame De Pompadour. Oh it has such a fabulous history. I'll tell more.

Of course my eyes head up to the lights before anything else.... and these are the real thing, not the replicas which I flog. Look at the 'Grand Staircase'.....

...deep breaths... there's lots of glorious, heart-stopping detail.

Let's mix it up a bit... because behind that beautiful staircase are the pantries and the 'Rechauffoir', the room where the meals were reheated before being served. It has been restored to it's original appearance. It has copper cooking implements and 19th century tables. Over in the far right corner is the heating stove.

We get rather engrossed in the stove.... and imagine what it would have really been like..... back in the day......being a lowly servant and all.

Back to the glamour. Let's head upstairs. There's that light again. Sigh!

The Petit Trianon and it's park are linked irrevocably to the memory of Marie-Antoinette who was the only queen to have imposed her personal taste on Versailles. Given to her in 1774 by Louis XVI, she swanned around here with her lady companions for years.

I sooo fell in love with the 'Salon De Compagnie', the games room and music room. Loved all the pink. I can see Marie-Antoinette sitting with her feet up here, scoffing cakes and admiring her shoes.

So besides the heart-stopping lights, check out the wainscoting!

Pink, pink, pink.... I can see her... right there... all wigged up.. tossing her head back and laughing...before she shoves a cake in her mouth.

Serious light fittings.

The exquisite detail is very distracting ....and we linger....

... before we head outside. 

The Petit Trianon stands in the middle of a 'Garden of Plants' that began it's creation in 1750. Marie-Antoinette turned part of the garden into an English style park with follies and a 'Hamlet'. Look there's a folly!

I'm keen to find this 'Hamlet'. Let's go!

There it is. It's a bit of a walk from the Petit Trianon.

Let's do the old iPhone zoom. Gee it's got a good zoom on it.

My heart is racing. I have read so much about this glorious 'Hamlet'. I can't believe I am here, seeing it with my own eyes. I stand and breathe the fresh air and soak in my surroundings. I am so grateful. I wish my boys were here with me. This would have blown them away.

Marie-Antoinette, seeking to flee the Court of Versailles, had the Hamlet constructed in 1783. It was created in the spirit of a true Norman Village, with eleven houses spread around the big lake. Five houses were reserved for the use of the Queen and her guests, while four were reserved for occupancy by the peasants. One house became a farm, with cows, a bull, goats and pigeons.... they ate pigeons back then... lots of them. The farm products supplied the kitchens of the palace.

The Malborough Tower, a sort of beacon towering above the banks of the 'Big Lake', was the point of departure for boat rides or fishing outings. Oh the glamour of it all.... I can see them all in their big frocks and wigs (scoffing cakes again) floating down the lake in boats rowed by the peasants.

This was the grandest. Definitely one for the Queen and not the peasants.

How magnificent is this restoration??!!.....

...with ramshackle bits left 'just so' for maximum effect.

The banisters of the staircases and balconies were originally adorned with blue and white earthenware pots containing hyacinths, wallflowers or geraniums.... way back 'then'.

Each house had it's own little garden, planted with cabbage, cauliflower and artichokes, surrounded by a hedge and enclosed by a fence of chestnut trees.

Look at all the working gardens once again.
Oh how I loved it all. Every. Little. Nook..... and Cranny.

Ah yes, here's the farm. Totally restored... even restored animals.

Is that what I think it is?

Yep, a fat pig.

So real... all of it. It was a fully working farm.

Our visit to Versailles is over. We stayed until they kicked us out and closed the gates behind us.
Back into the town of Versailles we go... onto the Metro....

... and back to the '7th' where we are staying.

It's dark and we are totally exhausted as we turn the corner into our street.

Is this wrong?
It's true. It's is 'bon' and 'chaud'.

At least we can say the Pizza Hut pizza's are divine in France.
Must be the cheese.

We put our feet up and watch the 2006 Marie-Antoinette movie, starring Kirsten Dunst.
Oh look, we stood in that room today!

Could it get any better?
What a day.
We sleep smiling.

Happy Sunday!
P.S. If you can't get enough of the gorgeous 'Queen's Hamlet', take a look at it on a virtual map, HERE. 
Sigh! Once you're on the map, click on it and scroll to the left and take in the grounds of the Petit Trianon and the Grande Trianon. Sigh, sigh, sigh.... Versailles!


  1. Sigh, sigh and an even bigger sigh.... Versailles... Happy Sunday A-M... xv

  2. so cool to see your photos of the hamlet, i have some of exactly the same angles/views, but at a different time of year. so cool!


  3. Oh i completely loved this post, so captivated, you are my Carla Bruni. We haven't been to Versailles, i wanted to save some parts of Europe i visited as a child, student, newly wed & grown up, for my children. I think France will take us a a long time, as my husband's love for the Somme will take us all over the country. Did i ever tell you cried every day of my honeymoon, don't marry a soldier & tour every military cemetry in Europe!! Love Posie

  4. Oh just wondering, do your boys watch Horrible Histories?? Do do a good M-A on that show, oh look at that, you & Mary-Antoinette swap your initials!! Meant to be, light fittings, pink & all, love Posie

  5. I'm so in awe of the amount of ground you've covered on your trip to Versailles - that's one huge place. I didn't even know about the hamlet - so beautiful. Enjoyed our trip today very much - thank you A-M.

  6. Look at that door handle A-M! That is some serious hardware! You can find gorgeous French door handles at BHV department store in Paris but I doubt that even they'd have the "Versailles" models... I love the Petit Trianon, esp the French Pavillion. Such lovely pix. If you go to Versailles again consider staying overnight and seeing the Potager du Roi (King's Garden) as well. Hiring a bike and riding through the Old Town and the Pièce d'Eau des Suisses park is fab too. The Old Town is so atmospheric. A cute, cheap, fabulously located hotel is the Hotel d'Angleterre - Paul Smith wallpaper, lovely garden and funky young owners.
    Janelle McCulloch | Library of Design blogspot

  7. Thanks for the wonderful tour. What a lovely way to start a Sunday. I have been to paris several times but never Versailles. I'm hoping to go later this year and Versailles will be at the top of my list:)

  8. I can't believe how much you managed to pack into your trip to Paris A-M! It certainly wasn't "just a business trip" - you managed to do some serious sightseeing. I really enjoy these little outings and think you make an absolutely fantastic guide. What great replicas those lights of yours are - they look just like the real thing. Looking forward to our next outing. ;)Sharyne

  9. I'm loving your Parisian posts AM - I've been reading a few Paris focused blog entries of late which has me thinking I need to get myself there for a weekend in the early part of next year when I am back from my annual trip to Australia - at least it is just a train-ride away for me. And the Hamlet is gorgeous - I've been to Versailles but never actually knew this existed - definitely one to add to the 'to do' list!

  10. My kingdom for the pink chair...sigh

    Our visit to Versailles was a true highlight but visiting during winter was wretched due the freezing cold and rain so I believe a return trip in spring would be in order..

  11. Oooh dosn't it just ooozze character!! :)

  12. So beautiful. You bring back the beauty of my trip there last year. We were unable to visit the hamlet due to work being done on it - but the rest was simply amazing. We did not try Pizza Hut pizza's though. :)


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx