Touring the Queen's Hamlet at the Palace of Versailles

The Queen’s Hamlet

 

Touring the Queen's Hamlet at the Palace of Versailles

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.

Passport Ticket.

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).

Free Entry for those under 18.

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. However, I would recommend that if your teenage looks questionable as to whether they are under 18, you make sure they have I.D. This did happen to us, but it 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).

Palace of Versailles.

I’ve shared some of my photos of the exterior of Versailles and from the inside of the Palace. In yesterday’s post, I shared a serene view across the lake found in the hamlet

The Hamlet.

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.

Queen’s Home.

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.

History.

The Queen’s Hamlet was built for Marie-Antionette between 1783 and 1787. It was a model village built around an artificial lake.

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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.

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She hosted small gatherings of her friends at the village.

She took relaxing walks through the gardens.

Escape.

Marie-Antoinette used the village to escape from the rigors of court life.

Architecture.

The Hamlet was designed by the French architect, Richard Mique. The cottages combine Norman, Flemish, and French styles.

Marlborough Tower.

Marlborough Tower stands overlooking the lake and adding to the fairytale ambiance of the Hamlet.

The Moulin.

The Moulin was a watermill. The wheel was driven by a stream from the Grand Lake but was used for decorative purposes only.

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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.

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Tranquility. Simplicity. Quiet.

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 always nice to slow down sometimes.

I can see why the Queen loved it so much.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. - Henry David Thoreau

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Inside the Palace of Versailles

Inside the Palace of Versailles

Inside the Palace of Versailles

Versailles.

As promised, today I’m sharing some of the photos of the interior of the Palace of Versailles.  If you missed my last post where I shared exterior photos and some helpful hints about touring it, you can check that out here.

Photography.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I bought my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D3200, in 2014. I had inherited some money after my grandmother passed away. She was a woman of very simple means and bright beacon in this world, so this money was extremely meaningful to me. I am lucky enough to live where I don’t have to wonder how I’m going to survive financially so it was important to me that I spend this money in a way that would bring trigger happy memories of her.

Half of the money purchased this camera. My kids were going to be playing soccer and football and I wanted a camera that could capture the action. That was how I used the camera… until…

The winter of 2015. I knew that I needed to find a way to survive what, for me, is a depressing season. So I needed to actively seek beauty in the everyday. And I started taking photos of nature. Then I started this blog. Finally, I took my Instagram public.

Why do I share all of this? Because I came home a little disappointed in my photography skills when I reviewed my photos of the interior of Versailles and Notre Dame.

Editing.

But as I worked on editing them, I realized that my skills have progressed. And while I still am using that same camera with its kit lenses (I actually almost never use the 55-200mm zoom lens, preferring the 18-55mm for almost all my shots), I can see where moments where I wish I had a wider angle lens. Or a moment where a macro lens would be wonderful. When I edit, I see how I really would like to add more than the Snapseeed App to my options, and have been checking out Lightroom. After the bulk of my DSLR, I am looking at the mirrorless options that so many photographers that I admire have switched to using.

Passion.

And mostly, I realized that I really do love photography.

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. -Dorothea Lange.

The Royal Chapel and the Hall of Mirrors.

Once again, I have more photos than I can share in one post. Today, I have chosen my two favorite places in the Palace… the Royal Chapel and the Hall of Mirrors.

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Hall of Mirrors.

The Hall of Mirrors is considered the most famous room in the Palace.  One reason is that it is the location of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, ending World War I. Work was started on the Hall of Mirrors in 1678 and completed in 1684. You can find out more about its history here, at the Palace of Versailles website.

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The room is quite stunning, filled with light from all of the windows and reflections from the mirrors.

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I see photos that run the entire length of the Hall of Mirrors without a single person included or just the one person as their focal point. If you are trying to achieve that, then I suggest you follow some of the timeframes offered in my prior post. I’m sure you can gauge the size of the crowd by those waiting to get inside.

Had we not been exhausted by all of the walking that we had done that day, I may have tried to go back at the end of our day to capture a less crowded hall.

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The Royal Chapel.

Of course, I could not show you Versailles on a Thursday without including at least one of the magnificent doors! This is one of the doors to the Royal Chapel.

If you love doors, head on over to Norm 2.0’s blog where door lovers come together each Thursday to share doors from around the world.

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The Royal Chapel was the fifth and final chapel built in the Palace since the reign of Louis XIII.

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One of the things that I found interesting about the Royal Chapel was that the design was presented by the Architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1699. He would not survive to see its completion, dying in 1708. His brother-in-law completed the works which were finished in 1710.

Reminders of the past.

It reminded me of a story I once read about motherhood, which could be applied parenting in general. It was about how as mothers we are building a masterpiece, like the cathedrals of old, and will not likely survive to see its completion. About how we would never live there, but if we built it right, God would.

It also brought to mind, that we remember those names who lived in this Palace. But there were countless people whose hard work brought about the possibility of them living there. The people standing in the sun creating walls, people chiseling the finest of details, people cooking, people scrubbing floors.

We should remember those people who spent their life behind the scenes making their bit of difference in the world.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

Palace of Versailles – Part I

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Versailles.

I still have a lot to share about the Amsterdam portion of our trip to Europe, but for today I’m jumping over to Paris. My daughter has been learning about World War I and was asked to bring in photos from her visit to Versailles, which means that I am editing those photos first. 🙂

Palace of Versailles.

While we were in Paris, we did opt to take a day trip out to the Palace of Versailles. I have so many photos from this part of the trip that I will be presenting them in a multi-part story.

We decided the night before that the next day would work best for our schedule.  It’s best to order tickets online.  If you are good at planning ahead, you would probably do this prior to heading to Paris.  We wanted to watch the weather before making our decision.  The concierge of our hotel was very helpful in ordering up our tickets and giving us the printout of the ticket.

Cost.

The cost to visit the Palace and the Estate of Trianon is 20€. The gardens are free unless there is a musical fountain or garden show. If you are under 18 (or under 26 if you reside in the EU), then there is free admission. When traveling with 3 teens this is a welcome surprise (just be sure to have i.d. for any child that might look questionable as to whether they are under 18. Such as my 6’6″ teenager. Only the Louvre questioned him in two entry points, one of which asked for i.d.).

How to get there.

I mentioned in my last Friday Faves that we stayed at the Hotel Opera Richepanse, located at 14 rue du Chevalier de St. Georges.  This is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. The metro line 8 was easily walkable from the hotel. Both to the Madeline and the Concorde stop.

Based on Google maps, it is perhaps slightly closer to the Madeline stop, but the Concorde stop is beside Place de la Concorde and Jardins de Tuileries and I enjoyed seeing those spots every day. Speaking of Google maps… the app was VERY helpful in navigating the city.

Versailles is considered Zone 4, so it is not the standard Paris metro ticket for riding around the city. I’m sure it was better to purchase a round-trip ticket, but we purchased them one way on either end. The cost was 3,55€ per person (at the time of our trip, April 2017). The metro was a little overwhelming with this day trip being our first use of it.

We took the 8 line to Invalides, where we caught the RER C to the Gare de Versailles Chateau/ Rive Gauche stop.  It was about a 30-minute train ride from where we got on at the Invalides stop. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the train station.  There are signs everywhere, but there are also crowds all heading that way as well.

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First Looks.

Versailles is definitely a sight to behold.

Originally the site of a hunting lodge for the future Louis XIII, the rebuilding of the residence from 1631-1634 laid the basis for the palace as it is today. Louis XIV was the one who would love the place and build it into the masterpiece that it would become. More work was done under the reign of Louis XV.

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Louis XVI would spend a lot of his time in Versailles until the court would leave for Paris in 1789, where Louis XVI and Marie-Antionette would be executed along with over 1200 others at Place de la Concorde during the Reign of Terror.

It was hard to imagine that such horrific events happened at Place de la Concorde while standing with my girlie and watching the sunset.

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Travel Tips

Back to Versailles.

Here is where I tell you to learn from my mistake.  

I had read if you don’t get there early (i.e. -you are traveling with teens), visit the gardens first and then come back to tour the palace.

If you look at the first photo of the palace, you will see a white tent. This is where they do a cursory look into your bag. Then you get in line to see the palace. All of those people in the photo above are in line. There are four or five rows, stretching from near the white tent to near the palace gate. We are in the final row before you are in line along the gate and walking through the entrance.

Once inside, they will scan your ticket and then you put your bags through a scanner and walking through the metal detector.  You are then free to explore the palace.

That line to get inside was 1 1/2 hours!

I thought it was a requirement to get through security.

THIS IS ONLY FOR THE PALACE.

There is an entrance with signage to the left of the pillared part of the building for the gardens. We arrived to this crowd around 10:45 a.m., when we left the estate at 4:30, there was not a line! The palace did not close until 6:30. Had I understood that the line was palace security only, we would have done the gardens and Trianons. The Queen’s hamlet was ultimately the destination that I most wanted to see.

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Don’t get me wrong.  The palace was definitely stunning.

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Its architecture was magnificent.

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The history palpable.

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We stood inside the Royal Gate, which was originally torn down in the French Revolution and was re-created with gold leaf and unveiled in 2008.

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Standing inside those gates, it was hard to believe that during a moment in history, this was where the Royal Court stood.

It would be inside these walls that the Treaty of Versailles would be signed on June 28, 1919, officially ending World War I.

My words and photos can’t do justice to the amount of history held between these walls. In a tying together of visits to two wonderful cities, Versailles felt like a good conclusion from a history component to the fact that we visited the Anne Frank museum while in Amsterdam.

I hope that you’ll check back for more from my trip to Versailles… the interior, the gardens, the hamlet and more.

Plus I have plenty more to share from the wanderlust created by Paris and Amsterdam.

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Let your light shine!

Amy