Most of my third day in Paris wasn’t really spent in Paris. We got up super early to catch a train to Versailles so that we could hopefully beat the rush of other tourists a bit later in the morning.
We walked to the train station, which was practically deserted that early in the morning on a Sunday. We then struggled for a good 15-20 minutes to buy tickets from the machines. Another pair of tourists came along and we eventually figured out that we were in the wrong part of the station (it’s huge!) and managed to buy tickets and hop on a train about 5 minutes before it arrived.
The train ride to Versailles was pretty peaceful. The train had two levels, and we sat on the upper one, hoping to have some better views. Versailles isn’t a long way from Paris, but we still struggled to stay awake on the train (well, I did anyway).
Versailles is huge. The palace itself is pretty large, but the grounds are ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the decoration of many of the rooms. We kept joking about how we would incorporate the Versailles look into our future homes and what we would change if we lived there. We saw bedrooms and antechambers and ballrooms and dining rooms and all kinds of rooms that seemed like they hardly had a purpose.
One of the things I really did like about the palace was the walls in many of the rooms. A lot of the rooms, especially bedrooms or sitting rooms, had fabric wallpaper in beautiful colors and patterns, like the red walls in the photo above. The chandeliers in many of the rooms were also quite impressive, but I really liked all the old-fashioned upholstered chairs. I also liked some of the more simple rooms in the palace, such as the small library/study or the hallway in the pictures below.
As I mentioned before, the palace of Versailles is big, but the grounds are bigger. Acres of land surround the palace and other buildings. The grounds are used as a park nowadays, and even though it was a bit cold while we were there, there were plenty of people around and even a rowing competition taking place.
Aside from the main palace, the grounds of Versailles also contain the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon, as well as Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet. None of these buildings are as big or as lavishly decorated, which I actually preferred quite a bit.
The Grand Trianon was a separate residence tucked further back on the acres of land. It was used mainly as a residence for various royal relatives. It’s also more tastefully decorated, in my opinion.
The Petit Trianon (photos below) was Marie Antoinette’s escape from the main palace. Gifted the chateau by her husband King Louis XV (who originally had it built for a mistress), she decorated many of the rooms in a surprisingly simpler style than what I was expecting. The style is more neoclassical than rococo, reflecting the change in decorating style from the time of Louis XIV (the king who made Versailles so crazy) to the next generation.
We then made our way even deeper into the grounds to Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet, a collection of cottages and other thatched-roof buildings surrounding a large pond and located near a farm. This was probably the coolest/most unexpected part of Versailles. It honestly felt like we were in the countryside somewhere. Unfortunately, the main cottage was being restored and was covered in scaffolding, but we got the idea from the smaller buildings around it.
The farm area was pretty cute, with lots of sheep and goats, as well as two bright white peacocks (presumably albino ones? Is that a thing?).
This part of Versailles was extremely different from the Palace and other residences. It was calm and quite, with far fewer people around. I can see why Marie Antoinette had this area built. We slowly wandered our way back around 3, with the goal of making it to the Catacombs back in the city.
For the rest of my trip to Paris, be on the lookout for a post in the next few days.