Temps de lecture : 3 minutes
Château de Versailles: As one of France’s most cherished national assets, one might expect only to find the traditional splendour of gardens à la française. But how many know that in 1777 Marie Antoinette in fact ordered the creation of an “English Garden”. Here the characteristic regimentation you might be expecting gives way to an elegant imitation of nature’s will.
THE QUEEN’S HAMLET
It does not stop there because in 1783, weary of life at the castle, the queen requested the construction of an entire village! Christened the Hameau de la Reine (the Queens’ Hamlet), its modest rural cottages belied luxurious decor to delight the queen’s relatives . Also hidden at first sight are huge billiard tables, of which the queen was famously passionate. The cottages also contain all the prerequisites of country life; a dairy, a fishery, and even a farm. This was not just a façade for the benefit of the queen’s receptions, but in fact fully staffed and functioning. Marie Antoinette was notably anxious for her children to learn about real life.
Since 2006, the Animal Assistance Foundation has taken the reins. Young and old can while away the hours watching donkeys, goats, chickens and rabbits.
A PLACE OF TRANQUILITY
The hamlet is a fair trek from the Château de Versailles by foot, but by consequence is frequently overlooked by tourists – which is priceless! I mean, it is actually 10 euros, except on the first Sundays of the months of November to March, when the whole domain is open free to visit, including the hamlet.
+ Music: Concerto in G -Roger Neill (du film Marie Antoinette) +
Ferme du Hameau de la Reine
Parc du Château
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