It didn’t take long for the rain to stop. By the time we were done with lunch, the sun was out again. Hooray! Now time to explore the super huge, perfectly symmetrical, immaculately trimmed, absolutely beautiful Gardens of Versailles!
|We started with the South Parterre which was blooming with colors of spring.|
|A view the Orangery from the upper terrace. French landscaping at its best!|
|The gardens covered 800 hectares of land, about the size of 2,000 football fields. So if you don’t want to walk the entire length, take this Petit Train for EUR 6.90.|
|Thinking that EUR 6.90 was a bit too expensive for a tram ride, we decided to walk. Somehow the quantum of 800 hectares didn’t register in our heads. Here we were at the Royal Walk a.k.a. Green Carpet, where adventure on foot began.|
|Apollo Ornamental Lake at the end of the Green Carpet. The Grand Canal further in front, where visitors could kayak all the way to the edge of the gardens.|
The Grand Trianon
The plan was to go Grand Trianon, then to Petit Trianon, then if we had time we would continue to Marie-Antoinette’s hamlet. So we walked. And walked some more. And walked even more. After the longest stroll in a park that I had ever done, we finally reached the Grand Trianon. Our feet hurt like mad. And guess what, we were only halfway through! Another 1000 football field to go, argh! At that time, EUR 6.90 for a tram ride felt like a penny. I would double it in a no time!
|The Grand Trianon. Louis XIV built it as a place of escapade with his mistress Madame de Montespan.|
|It was originally called “Marble Trianon” for those pink marble colons.|
|The hallway with large windows overlooking the gardens.|
|The Empress Bedchamber. It used to be Louis XIV’s bedchamber, then redecorated by Marie-Louise (second wife of Napoléon I) when she lived there.|
|The Room of Mirrors. Louis XIV used it as his council room. Marie-Louise made it her drawing room.|
|Ju-on ghost in Versailles!|
The Petit Trianon
The Petit Trianon was built by Louis XV for his long-term mistress, Madame de Pompadour. French kings did treat their mistresses like queens, eh? Unfortunately, Madame de Pompadour died four years before its completion. So the Louis XV’s next mistress, Madame du Barry, lived there instead. Later when his grandson Louis XVI ascended to the throne, the new king gave it to his wife, the incredibly popular Marie-Antoinette.
|We already vowed no more walking, so we took the tram from the Grand Trianon to the Petit Trianon, which was located in Marie-Antoinette’s estate.|
|Marie-Antoinette had great passion for music. Her favourite instrument was harp.|
|The Temple of Love, built entirely out of marble. We just took a glimpse of it from afar. Too tired to walk to see it up close.|
Back to The Palace
It started to drizzle again and our feet were still sore, so we made an equally painful decision to forget about visiting Marie-Antoinette’s hamlet and the rest of the gardens. Furthermore, it was getting late and we needed to catch our train back to Paris.
|Back onto the tram to return to the main palace. Best EUR 6.90 spent in Versailles.|
|Took a shot of at the North Parterre before leaving the palace. The sky already started looking dark.|
|Equestrian statue of Louis XIV outside the main gate. He was the greatest of all French kings. Became at the age of 4 upon his father’s death, he reigned for 72 years.|
J’aime le Château de Versailles!
We left Versailles feeling tired from all the walking we had done, but incredibly happy with the visit. One day was just too short to enjoy everything the palace had to offer. I was a little sad for not being able to cover the entire 800 hectares worth of gardens, but it was okay, at least I covered the interesting spots. If only I could, I would want to explore every single inch. Perhaps take a kayak across the canal too.
|Château de Versailles, without a doubt, was the highlight of my trip!|