July 1, 2015 (Wednesday) – After exploring the Chateau, we ventured out into the gardens at Versailles. The fountain was unfortunately not running that day, but the gold-gilded statues surrounded by golden frogs was an impressive sight on its own.
Being a scorcher of a day, we decided to not walk the gardens. We didn’t have time to walk the whole grounds. So we decided to splurge on renting a golf cart to get us around. On a day where temperatures reached 38C, we were more than willing to pay in order not to sweat buckets. And trust me, we were still sweating buckets without all the walking.
We waited a good 15 minutes for the next cart to come free. Then we were on our way at a blazing 10 km/h along the gravel paths of Versailles. English commentary was available as we explored the garden grounds. Our main goal was to get to the far corner where one could find the Petit Trianon , the Grand Trianon, and the Queen’s Hamlet. The Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet, in particular, were of interest to us since this is where Marie-Antoinette could escape from palace life and live in a rural paradise on the garden grounds.
The Queen’s Hamlet is really a fascinating place to visit. It’s like a pastoral theme park before there were ever theme parks. However, this hamlet was simply built for the pure enjoyment of Marie Antoinette.
The Grand Trianon was quite different. Where the Petit Trianon was simple and mostly understated, the Grand Trianon was much more royal and grandiose with its columns of pink marble.
After almost 2 hours with our little golf cart, we finally returned to the palace and dropped off our rental. We took another gander at the grand canal and took in the giant mirror art installation. By this time, we really needed to just get out of the sun and head back into the city.
If I were ever to return to Versailles, I would come on a much cooler day and rent a bicycle to explore the expansive grounds. The bicycle would be way cheaper than the golf cart and I could probably find more little nooks and crannies to explore.
We thought we had a really full day at the Chateau and the gardens. Little did we know, that the day’s events were still not done yet on our visit to Versailles.