Getting Away from all the Pomp at Versailles

Most visitors to the European city of Paris usually take a day trip to the spectacular Palace of Versailles. During peak holiday periods then a visit to Versailles can be quite overwhelming; not only is there so much to see but you can often end up jostling with many other tourists all trying to see 350 years of French history in as short as time as possible. That said, Versailles is definitely one of the best places to visit in Europe. But, to make your experience of the Palace a pleasurable one consider getting away from the crowds and the more popular areas of the estate.

The Estate of Versailles comprises a number of different ‘areas’ – all requiring different tickets: namely the grounds, the Trianon Palaces, Marie-Antoinette’s Estate. Getting yourself a ‘Passport’ (this can be done online and allows access to all areas open to the public), will certainly save you time and money.

While you may not want to miss the grand Palace itself, I can strongly recommend a visit to the ‘Queen’s Hamlet’. This construction of simple, rural life was made specifically for Marie-Antoinette, and it is where she came to escape the pomp and ceremony of the Court of Versailles.

The Queen had all aspects of a typical rural hamlet recreated for her amusement; she even had animals brought in from Switzerland for her ‘farm’. Besides numerous farm and village buildings, many of which were destroyed (such as the Dairy), a fully functioning mill and a Dovecote have been sensitively restored to their former glory. The simplicity of this part of the Palace Estate makes this an ideal place to bring the children.

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About Thomas Dowson

Hello, I am Thomas Dowson - a freelance writer and archaeologist living in Normandy, France. My field of expertise is prehistoric art - such as the cave paintings in the Dordogne and South Africa. But I am becoming passionately interested in France more generally, and Normandy in particular, and what this country and one of its very well known regions has to offer people with all sorts of tastes and desires. In 2005 I exchanged a university archaeology lecture room for a Bed & Breakfast in Normandy. More recently I started the Archaeology Travel website; sharing my expertise and love of archaeology and travel with others who also want to explore the many different pasts around the World.