In the expanse of the gardens of Versailles there is a place where Marie Antoinette dressed up as a peasant to escape the pomp of the palace; discover Le Hameau de la Reine
A rustic village, in Norman style, with houses, flowers, animals and a windmill extolling the simple country life. It is even hard to believe, but this place with a bucolic atmosphere is located in the extension of the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, at France, the greatest symbol of absolute monarchy and all its extravagance.
Open to visitors, but little known by tourists, the unexpected space is an interesting contrast between the pomp of the monarchy and the simple country life and, without a doubt, is worth adding to your itinerary.
The history of Vilarejo da Rainha
Built between 1783 and 1786 under the supervision of Richard Mique, the village, known as Le Hameau de la Reine, or the “Vila da Rainha”, was commissioned by Marie Antoinette in her quest for a life far from monarchical labels. The idea of building the village was motivated by a new phase of the queen, who was inspired by the naturalistic thoughts of the French philosopher Rousseau.
THE Hameau is close to Petit Trianon, the small palace that was a gift from her husband, the King Louis XVI, so that his wife could spend more peaceful days. Despite this, the Petit Trianon was still not enough to give Marie Antoinette the impression of actually living in a country house – and of pretending that she was outside the limits of Versailles.
THE Le Hameau de la Reine it was a place where Marie Antoinette dressed up as a peasant and put aside even the exuberant dresses to use simpler garments.
When walking through the village, you will have the impression of being in a scenic project, a pretend environment made to please. And, in fact, it's true: while the outside of the village extolled simplicity, inside, the houses, especially the one that housed the monarch, displayed tidy environments, decorated with luxurious furniture.
Other chalets, however, actually had an agricultural function and were inhabited by peasants from poor families who Marie Antoinette chose to live there – an attitude that, at the time, was quite controversial.
The queen used the Hameau mainly for socializing with his children, although he also used it for outings and lodging for close friends. The place played an important educational role for the real children, who had their first – and only – contact with nature and a freer life there.
How to visit Le Hameau de la Reine in Versailles
THE Le Hameau de la Reine is located in an area known as Domaine de Marie Antoinette, where the queen promoted events and lived in a more intimate and free way, also composed by the Grand and Petit Trianon.
It is necessary to pay attention, because the tickets for versailles may not include access to this area. There is a ticket option that only includes the visit to the Palace of Versailles and the Gardens – another includes the Palace, Gardens and Trianon (Domaine by Marie Antoinette). If your ticket does not entitle you to visit the Domaine, you can purchase it on the spot for 12 euros. There is also a way to buy in advance online. clicking here.
It is also possible to take a guided tour of the Hameau, having access to the interior of the house where Marie Antoinette escaped the rigidity of the French court. For this tour the cost is 10 euros (in addition to the ticket price) and you can book clicking here.
To get to the Domaine and, consequently, to the Le Hameau de la Reine, it is necessary to take a good walk through the palace gardens, so if you are not in the mood or if time is tight, there are two transportation options for hire: private golf carts or a small train that takes passengers throughout the day .
Many people end up visiting only the Palace of Versailles and don't include a visit to the Domaine de Marie Antoinette and your beautiful Le Hameau de la Reine. Getting to know the queen's romantic retreat is a pleasant surprise, but it is necessary to organize yourself and dedicate a whole day to Versailles to not miss anything.
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