Friday, January 8, 2016

Versailles part 5 (the final bit) - A hamlet fit for a Queen

Due to the earlier misfortune and the absolute vastness of the estate we didn't get to see everything.
But there was one place I absolutely did not want to miss.


Constructed in 1783 under the instruction of Marie Antoinette, it became an extension of her retreat at the Petit Trianon and an actual working farm complete with peasant farmers, a small herd of cows, a bull, some goats and pigeons.
With 11 houses around a beautiful lake (5 reserved for the Queen and her guests and one for domestic use), each with it's own little garden, it is like a little girls dream of a fairytale village come true.


The Queen's House
 The Queen's House
Composed of 2 separate buildings connected by a covered walkway, it's the most impressive building and reminds me of an inn of the "Olden days" I used to imagine in stories.
On the right is the Queen's rooms comprising of a dining room and games room on the ground floor, and a large and small living rooms and a Chinese room on the first floor.
On the left is a billiard room on the ground floor and Marie's private apartment on the first floor.
According to books I read before the trip, Marie Antoinette used to oversee the work on the farm from this building, wearing a simple white muslin frock and a straw hat.
I could just imagine her walking along the balcony or descending the stairs in the pictures below in her simple "peasants clothes" can't you?




I so very much wanted to climb the stairs and peek inside, but restoration work was being done and I couldn't get any closer than these photos show.



The Mill
The Mill
This was a fully functioning mill used to grind grain and also contained a washing place.  It was for the use of the villagers.








I found each and every building utterly enchanting and wanted to stay for hours, but alas, from the look of daughter's thundercloud face I knew a teenage meltdown was not far away.  And fair enough - it had been a very long day (5 blog posts worth in fact).

Unfortunately I cannot now remember which building housed what but you can read a bit more about it here.


And the best bit was that there were far less tourists.  It's quite a long walk down to the Hamlet and most tourists were hanging around the Chateau and main garden.



As we started the trek back up to the Chateau we entered a little woodland grove and I stopped and looked back at the hamlet and closed my eyes again just for a moment.  And finally I found it.  What I had been searching for since I entered the front gates that morning.  

I felt a cool breeze on my skin, smelled flowers, heard soft laughter and people speaking French and - yes - a cow moo, and in that brief moment I was back in time.  I was there - where she was - at one of her happier times.  Yes.  All that reading and walking and frustration was worth it for that one small moment.


After finally reaching our apartment after a long trip home and yet another debacle but this time at the train station, I burst into tears from sheer exhaustion focusing on what went wrong that day and vowed I would never go back.

But you know something?
After posting these photos and remembering that one glorious moment I think I will.
(However I think it would be alone as hubby and daughter may protest at even thinking of going back)

The Queen's Hamlet, Versailles, France - June 2015

Tomorrow we are heading up to Forster for a bit of post Christmas rest but I will be back in a week with more adventures.  This time in a different country.  Where?  Well you must wait and see ;)

12 comments:

  1. A tremendously appealing place. You've photographed it beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If only I weren't so old I'd meet you next time you go back.
    What a fabulous place. yvonne
    Happy New Year

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy new year to you too and you're never to old for a new adventure :)

      Delete
  3. Versailles is truly beautiful and your photographs in all these posts show that. But I do think this is my favorite -- it's warm and charming and simply beautiful. This is the spot in which I would be most comfortable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jeanie. It certainly was for me.

      Delete
  4. I am sorry you had to wait so long to get into Versailles. I think there are more and more tourists in France, just like in Venice. I used to take family from out of town or my English friends to Versailles and we never had to wait – but that was a long time ago. Did you hear about the latest book on Marie-Antoinette? Evelyn Farr, in her book, says she found some new material and explains that two of Marie Antoinette’s children were not Louis XVI’s but the secret love of her life Count Axel Fersen. The book is called “I love you madly: the love letters of Marie-Antoinette and Count Axel Fersen” and was published in August 2016 – it sounds interesting. I enjoyed looking at your pretty photos. Speaking of Venice and tourists, my daughter was in Venice last week, after the holidays, and she said that the town was almost empty – I guess early January is a good time to visit Europe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't heard of that book but it sounds like a good read. Will have to check it out when it's published. I read in the book by Antonia Fraser that is was suspected that some of her children were fathered by her lover. I think that January sounds like a much better time to visit.

      Delete
  5. Sorry I made a mistake - I should have said the book will be published in August 2016, it is not out yet.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think my comment somehow did not get published, so here it is again: I am sorry you had to wait so long to get into Versailles. I think there are more and more tourists in France, just like in Venice. I used to take family from out of town or my English friends to Versailles and we never had to wait – but that was a long time ago. Did you hear about the latest book on Marie-Antoinette? Evelyn Farr, in her book, says she found some new material and explains that two of Marie Antoinette’s children were not Louis XVI’s but the secret love of her life Count Axel Fersen. The book is called “I love you madly: the love letters of Marie-Antoinette and Count Axel Fersen” and was published in August 2016 – it sounds interesting. I enjoyed looking at your pretty photos. Speaking of Venice and tourists, my daughter was in Venice last week, after the holidays, and she said that the town was almost empty – I guess early January is a good time to visit Europe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry Vagabonde I had to put on comment moderation because of an annoying spammer.

      Delete
  7. That is like a dream. I could live there in a heart beat.
    Thanks so much for your great posts.
    yvonne

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I do appreciate each and every one and will do my best to reply. I do apologise for the comment moderation I've been forced to put into place thanks to Mr Dark's spamming. It was not so much the spamming that bothered me - it was his appalling grammar.