Friday, 4 March 2011

Palace of Versailles, part 2

Last Sunday I posted about the Palace of Versailles, focusing on the chateau itself.  After looking around the chateau, there was plenty left to see - including the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, the hamlet and the enormous gardens.

You only really get an idea of the scale of Versailles when you are in its gardens.  As I said before, you are only shown around the most famous rooms of the palace, so it's only when you walk around outside that you get a sense of how enormous the complex is.

Looking out to the Grand Canal

I didn't stay too long in the gardens because it was a cold, overcast February day, so I headed to the Grand Trianon.
A pool in the gardens
The Trianons have a much lighter feel, and were often used by the royals to escape the strict etiquette of the chateau.  This room below was used by Louis XVI, and also was the drawing room of Napoleon Bonaparte.  He chilled out here when he wasn't conquering Europe:

The Petit Trianon became Marie Antoinette's domain and she extensively decorated it to suit her own tastes.  It was around here that allegedly (and I do emphasise that term) two ladies went through a "timeslip" back to when the Trianon was used by Marie herself.  For me however it remained the 21st century for the duration, as you can tell from the photo below:

Finally, I went to the Petit Hameau.  This was a model village that Marie Antoinette had built in the grounds, where she and her attendants would dress up and "play commoner".  I thought this was one of the most interesting parts of the whole day.  Walking around the immaculate lawns and perfectly "rustic" houses, it seemed sad to me that someone like the Queen, who had all the riches she could possibly want, would choose to milk cows and dress as a shepherdess in her spare time. 

On that note, a plus.

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