The Palace of Versailles is an hour away and yet very far from the streets of Paris. Once the massive gilded gates come into view it’s like Oh, that’s why there was a revolution.
We walked and walked and walked. The “Palace” of Versailleis really several huge buildings and many gardens across many acres, so it just goes on and on. From one opulent room to another intricate hedge. But my favorite example of decadence and whimsy of the ridiculously rich was the Queen’s Hamlet.
Bored from all the other palaces and gardens she could go to, Marie-Antoinette decided she wanted something quainter, rustic even. So, like you do pre-revolution, she had a village built in Norman style around a big lake. Before there was Real Housewives to join or being able to buy an island, I guess you just built your own theme park.
And I loved it. There’s a windmill and farm and fields full of animals. It does give the sense of stumbling into a lovely village from far from all the grandeur. Which of course was completely manufactured for that effect. But if you make it to Versailles and want a break from all the gold and marble (and your feet haven’t fallen off yet), walk on over and try out the Hamlet. It is a lovely little getaway from the getaway.
Story and photo by ManAboutWorld correspondents Jason Paul.