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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Best Kept Secret of Versailles: Le Petit Trianon

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My favorite part of the Chateau de Versailles just outside of Paris is not the palace itself. It’s also not the vast French garden with its fountains and high hedges. Instead, it’s an unassuming place just outside the palace grounds called Le Petit Trianon, also known as Marie Antoinette’s estate. The former Queen of France was gifted this place by her husband Louis XVI. and this was were she would go to when she wanted to escape the rigid protocol of the court.

It’s an oasis of peace and calmness faraway from the masses of people that pour into Versailles every single day. Where the Chateau is ostentatious, the Trianon is humble. Where the Gardens of the palace are constructed by strict geometric rules, these gardens give the appearance of having been left to nature. The Trianon is less formal, less stiff, but much more unique and that’s why I love this place so much.


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The Petit Trianon is a small building that is more reminiscent of a beautiful country mansion, than a royal palace. Many of the castle along the Loire are more grand than this building. It has a sister building called the Grand Trianon and both are located at the very end of the palace gardens. Leaving the chateau behind you, you head towards the Le Grand Canal where you leave the Palace Grounds (keep your ticket, so you can enter again later) and turn to the right. You’ll immediately leave behind the bustle of the chateau and enter the world of rural France.

The biggest attraction of Marie Antoinette’s estate is not the Trianon itself, though, but the adjacent gardens. I could spend hours there, because there are just so many things to discover. I greatly prefer the grounds of the Petit Trianon to the gardens of the chateau, simply because this one actually showcases nature.


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Marie Antoinette had a small village for herself and her children erected called Hameau de la Reine where she reenacted the simple rural life. I don’t have to mention that the farmers of France who would later in part be responsible for the French Revolution that cost Marie Antoinette her head didn’t live as lavishly as she did in her fairytale dream world.


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One big attractions are all the animals that are living in Hameau de la Reine.There are goats, cows, chicken, donkeys and pigs and I really think this is how animals should be living: With plenty of space on their meadows.


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This guy has understood what life is all about.


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If you want to see more of this place, you should also check out Jay’s recent post on Marie Antoinette’s Estate. And in case you’re going to Paris soon and want to know some of my favorite spots in the city, I posted my perfect day in Paris last Tuesday!




Today I’m linking up with Bonnie and Belinda for Travel Tuesday again. Check out all the great other travel posts and get to know some fellow bloggers! 

What’s your favorite spot in Versailles?


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  1. Oh that little goat is so cute! I have not been here yet and its so on my list of places to go. I really cannot wait to see so much of France really, so I really enjoyed your post today. Great photos Melanie! Thank you again for linking up with us.


    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

  2. That little goat is the cutest, I squealed inside a little bit! It looks so lovely and peaceful there!

  3. Lovely photos! it looks like such a peaceful place.

  4. Loved this post, Melanie! I was not aware of this part of Versailles' history and it really was fascinating to me! Also, it shows you how much they were rolling in the dough that her "play house" was a WHOLE OTHER ESTATE that was better than most rural houses back then. That's like if someone built me a little doll house to play dress up in and it ended up being way better than the living conditions of 99% of people in the world. HAHAHAHA. When you think of it that way, you are like WOW... homegirl was living in a different world. But I can't hate too much because who wouldn't want to be in her (amazingly ornate) shoes? (Well, until the guillotine was invented.)

    Oh and that pig looks like the most content pig I have EVER seen. Just smilin', chillin' in the sun. Haha. He's living his dream piggy life.


  5. I've been to Versailles before but apparently I totally missed out on this place! I have to revisit when I'm back in France. Beautiful photos :)

    Michelle @ Mishfish13

  6. The timing of this post couldn't be funnier for me... I'm currently reading Paris by Edward Rutherford and last night when I was reading, there was this whole bit on Le Petit Trianon and the Hameau. I would love to see it for myself one day :)

  7. Ah I'm going to Paris in September... I hope I get a chance to visit here, it looks beautiful! :)
    Love you blog and reading about all the adventures!
    <3 Erica @ thebartlettsabroad


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