In addition to the main chateau there are also two smaller chateaus (Petit Trianion and Grand Trianon) and an English-style Hamlet (Hameau)nestled among the parks and gardens of Versailles. There are also acres of canals, and dozens of fountains. We never made it out to the hamlet, where Marie Antoinette is said to have made her famous “Let them eat cake” speech, but we did tour the Trianons with the help of a golf cart rental they offer for fat Americans who are tired of walking everywhere. Seriously, I never would have made it on foot.
We had gotten about halfway to the Grand Trianon, past the fountain of Apollo, and were debating turning back for the main chateau (god I really need to get in shape!). Suddenly, a golf cart tore past us. “That’s what we need. I wonder how they got that,” I said to Shannon. Then we saw the sign advertising “Electric Car Rental.” Damn thing was practically dead when we took possession, and only ran about 4 MPH, but it beat the hell out of walking the rest of the way to the Trianons and back! Returning the vehicle, we rolled to a stop with the low-battery warning light ablaze. We weren’t really weren’t sure we would make it back to the stand. Best thirty Euros we spent on the entire trip.
The Grand Trianon was built by Lous the XIV in 1687 as a place to escape the formality of the main chateau. It was also occupied by Napoleon during his time, and in 1963 was converted briefly into a guesthouse for French Presidents by Charles de Gaulle.
The Petit Trianon was originally built by Louis XV as a love shack for his mistresses. In 1774, the 20-year-old Louis XVI gave the chateau and its surrounding park to his 19-year-old Queen Marie Antoinette for her exclusive use and enjoyment. She had the Hameau built a few years later, complete with gardens in the English-style.
The pictures from the two lesser chateaux and the gardens are mixed together below. Perhaps someday I will get around to sorting and labelling them. But not today.
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