Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet

In the last month or so, I’ve been inspired to share my photographs of Marie Antoinette’s hamlet due to several of my favorite bloggers having been there recently.  Finally, I’m finding the time to write a few notes to go with the photos.

The first time I went to Versailles, we didn’t make it out to the Hamlet due to the grounds being so vast and a few debacles along the way – we just ran out of energy! But this second time, I was determined to make to this quaint village ~

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The Queen’s Hamlet, constructed between 1783 and 1786 from the designs of Richard Mique, is the result of Marie Antoinette’s fascination with the charms of rural life. Although it was intended originally to be a private location for her children to learn about a simpler life among the animals and nature, it ended up as a nearly vital respite for Marie Antoinette from the formalities and demands of the Court of Versailles.

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The wheel is purely decorative.

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Despite the wide spread notion that Marie Antoinette created the Hamlet to “play at being farmers”, the queen actually felt more comfortable here rather than involved in the stresses at the palace. She would host dinners, walk the grounds, and teach her children about livestock at the working farm and dairy.

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This cottage housed the billiards room.

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The raised walkway, and covered walkway below it, connected the game rooms to the dining room on the left.

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My gorgeous model imagining what it might have been like to walk along with Marie Antoinette 🙂

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One of my favorite compositions.

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The “Marlborough Tower” named after a favorite song of Marie Antoinette and Louis Auguste.

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Every viewpoint is just so picturesque.

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Iris growing on the rooftops!

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“Let them eat cake” was probably never uttered by the Queen. It is now widely believed that the Revolutionaries made up this “fact” to further her demise during the highly charged policital time. Marie Antoinette was definitely the scape goat, and ill-equipped to handle such pressures.

This was the guard’s cottage. I had my French confused, and thought the sign said the “Gardener’s” cottage 😛 With such beautiful flowers lining the walkway, and the French word for guard being “Garde” it was an easy mistake – haha!

Yep, it rained a bit, but we were not dissuaded. The raindrops just amplified the depth of color and beauty of this Disneyland-like village.

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A few tips to close out:

There are golf carts you may rent (for a pretty penny). There was quite a waitlist for them with the rain coming down, so we opted for the little train, which worked great too. The train will only take you as far as the Petite Trianon, then you must walk the rest of the way, but it’s a gorgeous stroll.

Practical info for planning your trip to Versailles, click here.

Golf Cart rental info, click here.

Le Petit Train info, click here.