The estate of Trianon and its gorgeous gardens

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Published by My B. · Photos by My B. · Published on 18 May 2022 at 16h30
The Estate of Trianon is to be visited apart from the Palace. Set at two kilometers, it used to be a place of refuge for the kings who found rest and relaxation far from the Court. Designed by Louis XV, this estate becomes Marie-Antoinette’s fiefdom as she changes the place and creates a hamlet like a small village.

How about discovering the Estate of Trianon? Set in the former village of Trianon, purchased in 1661 by Louis XIV, the Estate of Trianon was extended and transformed until the end of the Ancien Régime. To change from the luxury of Versailles, the Estate of Trianon looks like a small village.

At first, it only included a castle, the Grand Trianon, built in 1687 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart for Louis XIV. It is only between 1761 and 1768 that a second castle was created, the Petit Trianon, built by Ange-Jacques Gabriel for Louis XV. Queen Marie-Antoinette used to stay there a lot, and then decided to add a small fantasy village, the Hamlet, built between 1783 and 1786 by Richard Mique.

Le Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la Reine

The estate used to be a place of relaxation for the kings under the reigns of Louis XVI, Louis XV and Louis XVI. It allowed them to escape from the court during the summer. Place of parties, this is where they threw shows and dinner parties.

Under Napoleon I, in 1810, the Estate of Trianon is created, differencing it from the Palace of Versailles. This is at this time that gates and walls are built. A century later, in 1910, it was reunited with Versailles again.

Le Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la Reine

Although the Grand Trianon enjoys straight French formal gardens, its architectural style yet breaks up with the three-story castle tradition. Designed on one floor, with a peristyle made of pink marble from Languedoc, open onto the gardens and indoors decors with woodworks, it shows off the lifestyle of the 18th century. Louis XIV used to go there with his new spouse, Madame de Maintenon, for short stays.

Le Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la Reine

Le Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la Reine

Overlooking the Grand Canal that Louis XIV enjoyed to ride on a bark to go to Trianon, the French formal gardens were designed by Michel Le Bouteux, nephew to André Le Nôtre. Clean and symmetrical, they were flowered with thousands of precious and aromatic plants: tulips, hyacinths, anemones, lilies, jasmines, daffodils, gillyflowers…

Le Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la Reine

Le Domaine de Trianon et ses sublimes jardins Le Domaine de Trianon et ses sublimes jardins Le Domaine de Trianon et ses sublimes jardins Le Domaine de Trianon et ses sublimes jardins

These flowers were not planted in the ground but in pots so they could be changed daily and provide a living and scented décor, perfectly uplifting the architecture of the Grand Trianon, genuine “Palace of Flora” entirely open to the gardens.

Le Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la Reine

Madame de Pompadour urged the King to close the garden horizon with the creation of a new castle, the Petit Trianon, built between 1761 and 1768 by Ange-Jacques Gabriel. Very narrow, the castle was first inhabited by Comtesse du Barry, who became the new mistress after Madame de Pompadour passed away in 1764.

In 1774, King Louis XVI gifted it to his wife, Marie-Antoinette, who turned it into her private stay and entirely transformed the garden to create an English-Chinese garden from scratch including a cave, a cascade, varied buildings designed by architect Richard Mique.

Across the Petit Trianon, he had the Love Monument built, an antique rotunda hiding in the middle a copy of Cupid fashioning his bow from Hercules’ club by Louis-Philippe Mouchy, hence the name of the building.

Le Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la Reine

He also built the Belvedere and the Queen’s Theater.

Le Domaine de Trianon et ses sublimes jardins Le Domaine de Trianon et ses sublimes jardins Le Domaine de Trianon et ses sublimes jardins Le Domaine de Trianon et ses sublimes jardins

But the highlight of the tour is the Queen’s Hamlet, a village consisting of ten rustic houses inspired by Hubert Robert’s paintings. The construction ended in 1786. But behind these rather raw-looking façades, the houses unveil richly decorated rooms. Note the Queen’s house is only open to guided tours.

Le Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la Reine

La Maison de la Reine rénovée au Château de VersaillesLa Maison de la Reine rénovée au Château de VersaillesLa Maison de la Reine rénovée au Château de VersaillesLa Maison de la Reine rénovée au Château de Versailles

Each building, excluding the Marlborough Tower, enjoys a garden: the Windmill, the Queen’s House, the Guard House… They all are kitchen gardens, excluding the Dovecot, more focusing on aromatic plants.

Le Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la ReineLe Domaine de Trianon et Hameau de la Reine

Two orchards, including one set behind the Queen’s House, house plantations of the Hamlet fruit trees (apple trees, cherry trees, peach trees, plum trees, medlar trees, pear trees and quince trees…).

By visiting the estate, you will also discover admirable trees. From the French formal garden in front of the castle to the English garden of Trianon, the Estate of Versailles is full of extraordinary trees. Originally essentially consisted of lime trees and local chestnut trees, Versailles tree heritage was enriched with rare specimens from faraway lands: Cedar from Lebanon, Virginian tulip tree and juniper, Japanese sophora… Although some historic trees did not make it through the 1999 storm, several specimens among the most remarkable ones escaped it and are still standing.

Le parcours des Arbres Admirables dans le domaine du château de VersaillesLe parcours des Arbres Admirables dans le domaine du château de VersaillesLe parcours des Arbres Admirables dans le domaine du château de VersaillesLe parcours des Arbres Admirables dans le domaine du château de Versailles

Le parcours des Arbres Admirables dans le domaine du château de VersaillesLe parcours des Arbres Admirables dans le domaine du château de VersaillesLe parcours des Arbres Admirables dans le domaine du château de VersaillesLe parcours des Arbres Admirables dans le domaine du château de Versailles

In other words, there is not only the Palace of Versailles to visit, the Estate of Trianon is a true gem to discover. And for this, there is an Estate of Trianon special ticket giving you access to the estate, the temporary exhibitions, the gardens and park.

 

Worth discovering:

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The Queen’s House and the adjoining Réchauffoir (or warming room), entirely renovated and refurbished, open their doors again from May 12, 2018. For the first time in 2 centuries, Marie-Antoinette’s house – set in the Petit Trianon park in the Palace of Versailles estate – is unveiled. Refinement and spruce colors mix with the bucolic and nature aspect of the outdoor, a pastoral and historic visit you don’t want to miss. [Read more]

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The Palace of Versailles, its gardens, and its estate are part of the world heritage. Official home to kings of France, the Palace of Versailles holds the record of the biggest castle in the world, and the most visited on in France of course. [Read more]

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
Starts 17 May 2022

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    Location

    Château de Versailles
    78000 Versailles

    Prices
    Billet domaine, parc et exposition temporaire: €12

    Recommended age
    For all

    Official website
    www.chateauversailles.fr

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