The Queen’s Hamlet.
Place d’Armes, 78000, Versailles, France.
Also known as Hameau de la Reine, the Queen’s Hamlet was the place I most wanted to see when we toured the Palace of Versailles.
We purchased the Passport ticket which included admission to the entire estate at the Palace of Versailles. While the gardens are free to visit (except on days with there are musical fountain shows or musical gardens), the Passport ticket allows you to visit the Palace, the gardens on musical days, and the estate of Trianon (which includes the Queen’s Hamlet).
One thing that I appreciated while traveling in Europe is that many museums and places of interest (such as the Palace of Versailles) have free entry for visitors under 18 (under 26 if you reside in the EU). This saved us quite a bit as we were traveling with three teenagers. I would recommend that if your teenage looks questionable as to whether they are under 18, that you make sure they have I.D. This only happened at the Louvre in Paris. My seventeen year old is 6’6″ and at one checkpoint they asked his age and at another they asked for proof. I did assume that we’d come upon this at some point. I used to carry his birth certificate in case we were ever questioned when we’d travel to Disney World (we never were).
Today, I thought we’d walk around some of the cottages found at the Queen’s Hamlet.
The estates of Trianon and hamlet are a somewhat lengthy walk from the gardens at Versailles. There are trains available for a fee that leave near the Palace and bikes available to rent farther into the gardens.
Things tend to add up quickly for a family of 5, so we decided to walk.
When we visited Versailles in April, the Queen’s home was under restoration. They cover the buildings while work is in progress (something I witnessed throughout my European travels). The restoration is being sponsored by the fashion house Dior, hence the covering. According to the website, restoration will be complete in 2018.
The Queen’s Hamlet was built for Marie-Antionette between 1783 and 1787. It was a model village built around an artificial lake.
The cottages are set in a crescent formation along the eastern side of the lake.
Contrary to popular belief, Marie-Antoinette did not “play at being farmer”. The model village was a working farm at her insistence and served as an educational place for the royal children.
She hosted small gatherings of her friends at the village.
She took relaxing walks through the gardens.
Marie-Antoinette used the village to escape from the rigors of court life.
The Hamlet was designed by the French architect, Richard Mique. The cottages combine Norman, Flemish, and French styles.
Marlborough Tower stands overlooking the lake and adding to the fairytale ambience of the Hamlet.
The Moulin was a watermill. The wheel was driven by a stream from the Grand Lake, but was used for decorative purposes only.
Not only was the architecture intriguing, but cottages meant a plethora of doors.
To see more doors around the world be sure to check out Norm’s blog where he hosts Thursday Doors.
It was easy to feel at peace while strolling along.
The area is spread out and there were not throngs of crowds (unlike the Palace and Gardens) as we walked at a leisurely pace.
While I don’t live in the stressful world of being scrutinized for being royalty, I do live in a world that rushes along at a frantic pace.
It’s nice to slow down sometimes.
I can see why the Queen loved it so much.
Let your light shine!