Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Wanderings: Marie-Antoinette's estate and the Queen's Hamlet at Versailles

When people think of Versailles they often think of the grand palace and the massive gardens. But there is one part of the grounds that many visitors skip—Marie-Antoinette's estate and the Queen's Hamlet (Hameau de la reine). It takes about 25 minutes to walk to the Queen's Hamlet from the palace.

Hameau de la reine was created between 1785 and 1792 by Marie-Antoinette as a little country village where she could get away from it all. The village includes a farmhouse (which was used to produce milk and eggs for the queen), a dairy, a dovecote, a boudoir, a barn, a mill and a tower in the form of a lighthouse. Each building is decorated with a garden, an orchard or a flower garden. The largest of these houses is the "Queen's House" at the center of the village.

The village actually functioned as a real working farm. It was attended to by a farmer chosen by the Queen and it included fields, vineyards, orchards and vegetable gardens. The Queen would dress up as a peasant (straw hat and all) and would milk the cows and tend to some of the animals. 

It was abandoned after the French Revolution but was renovated in the 1990s for visitors.  

The price to visit the inside of the palace is 15€ or you can get the passport ticket which grants you admission into all of Versailles' attractions is 18€. You can just visit Marie-Antoinette's estate for 10€.

I really enjoyed walking around the grounds—even though the day was a bit gloomy. I think it would be a great place to have a nice picnic when the weather warms up a bit.  

Return train tickets from Paris > Versailles cost about 6.80€. Here is a nice guide explaining all you need to know.

Agrandir le plan

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