As I was saying in my previous post, the Domain of Versailles is huge. So huge that it’s the world’s largest.
Therefore there is a lot more to see when visiting than to simply tour the palace and quickly escape the crowds. Actually, this is what Louis XIV also had in mind when he ordered the construction of a smaller castle within reach of Palace of Versailles.
In 1668 the Sun King bought the village of Trianon, had it destroyed, annexed it to the domain of Versailles and commissioned the architect Louis Le Vau to design a porcelain pavilion (Trianon de porcelaine). This was the place where him and his maîtresse en titre (‘official mistress’) of the time, Madame de Montespan, could live away from the busy Court.
The porcelain deteriorated in a few years and the king had it restored using stronger materials which resulted into the marble palace we can see today.
The interiors are more relaxed but still very pretty and fancy. I actually found this little palace cozier and lovelier than the big one.
From Grand Trianon, the train took us to Petit Trianon. As the name suggests, this one was the smallest of all palaces. Unfortunately we couldn’t enter anymore (the last admission is at 6pm during high season). This is also where the entrance for the Queen’s Hamlet is – her private custom made village which I wanted to see. Something to return to next time we’re in Paris. To compensate, I would visit the next day the farm gardens of Chenonceau.
On our way back to the palace, we took the train to the Grand Canal – a 1,670 metres long artificial lake created at the orders of the Sun King in 11 years. This is where the famous fountains can be found, while walking towards the palace. There is a restaurant and a boat hiring point.
During summer and included in our ticket was the fountain musical show. While walking through the gorgeous, perfectly trimmed gardens you would listen to the music of those times and start dreaming, even for a second, you’re in your own story with queens and kings.