My memories of visiting the Chateau de Versailles in my childhood, are at best, fuzzy. To have the chance to explore, now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser, with a relatively mature pair of eyes!) was a real gift. Han and I had a nice stroll past the golden gates; we were mesmerised by the intricacy of everything we saw! We found ourselves admiring the picturesque paintings and items of gratuitous luxury displayed in the regal rooms. One of my favourite sections of the Chateau was the large room containing stunning paintings depicting the most significant battles of French history. I was a little heartbroken as given it was the low season, certain famous rooms such as the Hall of Mirrors were closed off. We didn’t quite make the chapel or the opera either… Well, any excuse to go back, I suppose!
If you are keen to visit, I would recommend booking tickets in advance to avoid lengthy queues at the entrance. We did so online, with the all-access pass which allows you to explore more buildings and sites, including the famous Queen Marie Antoinette’s residence in Petit Trianon. After exploring the main part of the Chateau, Han and I rented some bikes (luckily, I had some flats in my backpack!) and got a chance to see things at a much quicker speed. We were impressed by the beauty of the landscape and the scale of the Chateau and the gardens. It was so much fun and highly recommended, and the wind flying through my hair on such a lovely day was a huge bonus!
Though not the most opulent of buildings in the grand grounds, Petit Trianon was certainly my favourite part. The garden at Petit Trianon was actually inspired by English gardens – Marie Antoinette wanted to do away with Louis XV’s more structured garden and have a more quaint and romantic feel. And whatever Marie Antoinette wanted, Marie Antoinette got! Petit Trianon was originally built for Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s notorious mistress, who was also a patron of one of my favourite artists of the Rococo movement, Francois Boucher. What took my breath away in the Petit Trianon was the Temple de l’Amour (The Temple of Love). In its charming neo-classical style, the centrepiece is a gorgeous sculpture of cupid cutting his bow from Hercules’ famous club – to me, it brings a new meaning to the phrase “love conquers war“. The original is currently at the Louvre – how I wish I had known that when I was there a few days before! Framed with corinthian columns and detailed friezes -Temple de l’Amour was, in my opinion, the most romantic spot in Versailles!
Han and I also enjoyed an intimate boat ride on the lake, watching couples picnic on the grass, small planes glide ahead in the sky, and ducks and swans gently swimming by the shore. You can rent these boat for about two dozen Euro per hour, which was a serene and memorable experience. We saw the Chateau in the distance, and of course, Han did most of the rowing as my feeble arms could not quite get the hang of it!
Light and airy, this BY CATALFO one-of-a-kind kimono made me feel very boho-regal as I wandered around Versailles. The lace pattern is super pretty, and I love the off-white detail at the bottom. Light and comfortable, it was perfect for relaxing by the lake, cycling around the long and tree-flanked paths and the romantic boat ride with Han!
kimono BY CATALFO
dress LAVISH ALICE