Paris – Touring the Versailles Summer Homes

Hi friends, welcome back to my Paris and London Anniversary series 🙂 Today is the final installment of our favorite day exploring Versailles. After touring the palace and gardens, we walked through The Park to get to the Trianon Palaces and Domaine de Marie Antoinette. You need additional tickets to visit these “summer homes”, and it takes about a half hour walk to get here from the Palace of Versailles. You can also rent a golf cart and drive over, or take the Petit Train for eight euros. Jon and I decided to take the more scenic route and walked.

As if the palace and gardens weren’t enough, the royals needed a summer home to escape all the busy commotion of royal life. We started at the Petit Trianon, built by Louis XV for his mistress Madame de Pompadour. After Louis XVI took the throne, it was given to Marie-Antoinette as her place to escape to.

I loved this grand entrance! As you can tell this summer home isn’t as grand as the palace, but it’s still pretty extravagant.

We then headed outside and saw the Temple of Love overlooking the expansive garden.

Heading back towards the Grand Trianon Palace, we walked through the gardens and the French Pavilion where Marie Antoinette hung out with her friends. We couldn’t go inside, but it was pretty to look at. While the interior design of theses palaces is obviously not my taste, I do appreciate the beautiful gardens all throughout Versailles.

Versailles had started out as a summer escape from Paris, but had become as busy as the city, so Louis XIV had the Grand Trianon Palace built in 1670 as his summer home. It’s said he spent about two nights a week here.

The colonnade was my favorite part, it looked so pretty! In 1810 Napoleon had the colonnade enclosed with windows to make the passage from his wing to his Empress’ wing more comfortable, but they were removed in 1910.

Louis XIV slept here with his mistress while his wife lived in the palace. It looks like he was a fan of blackout curtains.

This room was Napoleon’s living room and featured a malachite green basin given to him by Czar Alexander I.

Napoleon Bonaparte lived here from 1810-1814, and then the Grand Trianon had multiple tenants so the furnishings are from different owners and time periods.

Somehow we missed seeing the Queen’s Hamlet, the cottages Marie-Antoinette had made to simulate what rural life would be like. No wonder there was a revolution… This picture below is from the Versailles website.

After walking over 23,000 steps, Jon and I enjoyed finally sitting down for an hour on the train ride back to Paris. We definitely worked up an appetite and finished this day with some yummy pizza and flatbread at Forno Gusto in Saint Germaine. We tended to wing dinner in Paris which I wouldn’t totally recommend, but I spent so much time planning the itinerary that I didn’t have much capacity left for meal planning. Next time we go to Paris we’ll focus more on the food 🙂

I hope these posts have convinced you to visit Versailles! It’s truly a sight to behold and absolutely worth carving out a whole day for. Stay tuned for day three at the Louvre coming up next 🙂

23 thoughts on “Paris – Touring the Versailles Summer Homes

  1. We never took these optional tours, so thanks for the insight. So nice that the overworked royals had summer cottages so close to escape all the hard work they did. Yup, I can see why the locals wanted to cut them both down to size. We seldom planned our Paris meals as well, except the one crepe meal we had near the Marais. If we saw a place we liked the look of and if it had French food and wine, we were in. Thanks for sharing your visit Lyssy. Allan

    1. Haha it is so nice they had “summer cottages” to help with their work life balance… They definitely lived the good life while it lasted, but karma caught up to them. We were a bit intimidated by the cafe scene, and time the meals took. I was happy to eat a baguette for lunch ever day. Glad you’re enjoying this series!

      1. Don’t you just love the Paris version of fast food for lunch. Best described as Good Food Fast, these Baguette panino are a delight. We were regulars at the Paul stores.

  2. I wonder if you knew what you were getting into with Versailles, Lyssy. You & Jon covered a ton of ground in a single day! Your posts read as if each was a different day’s visit (and they probably could’ve been had you had more time). I also thought – especially with your last post – how it would be fascinating to travel back in time to a day in the life of Versailles. See the people themselves in the dress of the period, using the rooms, having conversations, walking in the gardens, and so on. I’m not convinced they accomplished much on any given day, but oh my, what a life they led.

    1. I knew that it would be a full day in Versailles, but it definitely blew me away how grand and large everything was. Each area did seems like a different day/activity. It would be fascinating to see what life was like in the palace back then. We watched some YouTube videos about what it was really like, and they didn’t have working plumbing so it was rather smelly. I agree that they probably didn’t accomplish much, although Louis distracted everyone with the lavishness and activities so he could decide on all matters himself.

  3. Wow, Versaille takes up the whole day. The interiors are so plush and elegant, not bad for a summer home. I guess the Paris restaurants are very much a hit and miss kind of thing. I think my research would certainly focus on prices as well as food quality.

    1. Definitely worth devoting a whole day to! So elegant compared to the summer cottage I spent growing up at haha. I imagine people coming to eat in NYC would be overwhelmed with options too. It can be hard to know what is actually good vs a tourist trap.

  4. All very fascinating, Lyssy! I especially liked the railings (looks like vases) on the Madame Pompadour/Marie Antoinette home. Such opulence and wealth is hard to fathom. Looking forward to the Louvre.

    1. It is hard to even imagine how they lived surrounded by so much elegance and wealth! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

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