By the time we were shuffled through the Versailles château, a jaunt around the gardens was a welcome idea. Indeed, walking around this huge expanse of terrain is an amazing way to take in Versailles. The outdoor scenes range from the elegant to the flowery to the pastoral–in short, there is something for every outdoor lover. Because of the sheer gamut of surprises the garden yielded, we all agreed that exploring this open-air version of Versailles was among the highlights of our trip to Paris.
There is a wealth of ground to be covered at the gardens–The Grand Canal, the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet, Marie-Antoinette’s private theater, along with several other little buildings that are preceded by “Marie-Antoinette.”
A hint of the gardens from the windows of Versailles
The grounds are immaculately groomed
Exiting the Grand Trianon for more gardens
The count really got “into” the gardens as well
Next, we came upon Marie-Antoinette’s Hamlet. I had expected the Hamlet to seem out of place, but it nestles seamlessly into the countryside, tucked away from the prying eyes of the main palace. This bucolic English hamlet was constructed for Marie-Antoinette as another play place–it was here that she dressed up as a shepherdess and chased fluffy little sheep (but not before they had been cleaned and groomed, of course).
The Hamlet boasts a large lake which is encircled by a total of eleven houses. The land around these thatch-roof buildings is still very well maintained, and we saw several workers trimming up the area the day of our visit.
If you squint, you may see Little Boo Peep
Another Hamlet house
If I make it to Versailles again, I would love to come to simply explore the gardens. Unlike the palace, it’s free to get in! You only have to pay if your visit coincides on a “Fountain Spectacle” day. Picnic, anyone?
Interested in learning more about the gardens and Marie-Antoinette’s Hamlet? Read practical info + tips here:
Have you ever been to Versailles? If not, do you think you’d prefer the gardens or the château?