After we explored the Palace of Versailles in the morning, we made our way out to the expansive and opulent gardens, which sprawl over nearly 2,000 acres of land surrounding the palace.
The vast gardens hold a lake where you can rent a row boat and paddle around in beautiful weather during the spring and summer.
In one section of the gardens is Marie-Antoinette’s Estate, built for the queen in 1783.
It was a place where she could escape from the rules and formalities of Versailles, and return to simple, rural life.
The Belvedere Pavilion in the English garden of the Petit Trianon served as the Queen’s music room.
Inside it looks just like the gazebo where Liesl and Rolf sing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” in The Sound of Music. :)
Be sure to bring comfy walking/hiking shoes if you plan to wander the gardens, they are massive and filled with endless, colorful tree-lined paths to explore.
One of my favorite parts of the garden was Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet houses.
The Hamlet was built for Marie-Antoinette in 1783, so she and her ladies in waiting could entertain themselves with the charms of country life.
The Hamlet was styled to represent a typical village in Normandy at the time, and was made up of eleven houses encompassing a large lake.
Each house had its own garden planted with cabbage, cauliflower and artichokes, surrounded by a hedge and enclosed by a private fence.
Five of the houses were used by the Queen and her guests: the Queen’s House, Billiard Room, Boudoir, Mill and Refreshments Dairy, where milk was skimmed and churned, and creams and cheeses were tasted by the Queen.
Four other houses were reserved for the peasants who ran the farm and its annexes, the mill, the barn, and the Warming Room, where the dishes were prepared for the dinners given at the Queen’s House.
The Mill is located at the edge of the lake, and its wheel was used to grind the grain for bread.
The Queen’s House, shown here, is composed of two separate buildings joined by a wooden balcony. On the right, the ground floor contained a dining room and a games room. Upstairs was was a large living room, a small living room and a Chinese room.
On the left, the ground floor housed a billiard room and a private apartment upstairs.
From the balcony, the Queen could oversee the work being done in the fields.
The banisters of the staircases and balconies were adorned with colorful climbing plants all over the Hamlet.
The Boudoir is the smallest structure in the Hamlet, and was nicknamed “the little house of the Queen.”
Marie Antoinette would retire here by herself, maybe joined by one or two of her friends.
The small boudoir is made up of a living room and a wardrobe and is surrounded by a closed, private garden.
Outside is its charming thatched reed roof, dormer window, and old stone staircase.
The Malborough Tower is located on the banks of the lake and was the point of departure for boat rides or fishing outings.
The Farm was home to varied livestock such as cows, goats, sheep, chickens, and pigeons.
According to the Queen’s wishes, animals brought from Switzerland were raised on the farm.
The farm included three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a dining room. It was well stocked with animals and vegetable gardens, whose crops led to agricultural and culinary experimentation at Versailles.
Seriously so gorgeous.
It was like stepping back in time.
This was one of the beautiful houses in the village of Versailles that we passed on our walk back to the train station.
I’d never ridden a double-decker train before!! :) See this post for step-by-step instructions on How to take the train from Paris to Versailles.
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