The Hameau de la Reine is a rustic retreat built for Marie Antionette in 1783 within the park which includes the Palace of Versailles. It served as a private leisure and meeting place for the queen and her closest friends. In a couple of weeks that will include us as we visit as part of an excursion on our Paris to Normandy River Cruise aboard the S.S Joie de Vivre.
Including the queen’s house there are a total of 10 cottages. The site was abandoned after the French Revolution and would be completely lost if not for later restoration efforts. Napoleon ordered a full restoration between 1810 and 1812, which unfortunately included tearing down some of the most dilapidated structures including the barn and the working dairy. A second restoration campaign funded by John Rockefeller in 1930’s saved the hamlet from certain ruin. Part of the hamlet was restored once again in the late 20th century, with some buildings including the windmill restored to their original look. The farm itself almost totally disappeared over the course of the 20th century but was reconstructed in 2006. It’s now home to a variety of animals.
We are really looking forward to our upcoming visit. While the cruise is sold out you can still follow along on our Facebook page – we hope to see you there -https://www.facebook.com/getawaytravelllc/
The palace of Versailles, located just outside Paris and listed as a World Heritage Site, was the seat of the government of Louis XIV. This marvelous palace and gardens should certainly be on your must see list while in France. The big question however is how to see it?
Well to answer that question, first consider that the Palace contains 2,300 room and more than 3 million people visit annually. Then consider your motivation for visiting, are you a wanderer who enjoys the sites without too much detail or are you a history buff where the story is important.
There are so many options to choose from – anywhere from going it alone with your audio guide (comes with the admission ticket) to a private guided tour. When choosing also consider what parts of the palace will be included (Palace, Estate of Trianon, Gardens and Parks, Musical Fountain Show and Musical Gardens and/or the Coach Gallery) in relationship to how much time you want to spend.
Here are a few tips that will make your visit more pleasurable.
- This place is huge and can’t be done in just one hour.
- Regardless of what way you wish to tour Versaillas, be sure you have purchased your ticket prior to your arrival otherwise you’ll spend a good part of your allotted time just standing in line for a ticket.
- Plan a minimum of 4 hrs.
- Wear good walking shoes.
- Eat a good breakfast or lunch before you arrive. Just the scores of people are enough irritation you don’t need hangry to rear its ugly head too.
- Make sure your tour offers headsets, with the crowd it is essential for hearing your guide.
Now for my personal (any travel professional) opinion, take a tour that offers skip the line and a small group format and access to the secret rooms – it will be well worth the money!
Whenever you go, enjoy your visit, it is a marvelous Palace. Au revior for now.