A day trip to Versailles was the perfect activity while Mark and I visited the small French town of Vernouillet, just 30 minutes North-West of Paris. We woke up early, strolled down to the town’s pastry shop and planned out our day. With croissants in hand, we drove our super French Peugeot 308 up the autoroute (freeway), around countless roundabout intersections and right up to the front gates of Versailles.
On this sunny spring day, the flowers were in bloom, the air was crisp, and I had a new SD Card ready to go. We decided to start Versailles with the formal, French-style gardens before entering the Palace. The picturesque gardens span almost 2,000 acres, so we had a lot of ground to cover! Sipping on fresh cups of coffee, we started our leisurely stroll through the garden, arm in arm, excited about what we might find.
What makes the gardens of Versailles so spectacular is how meticulously manicured the grounds are kept. Each tree and bush all looked a certain way with nothing looking out of the ordinary. Everything is pruned and trimmed to perfection – even the trees were perfectly in a line, all leaning in the same direction. I also loved getting little glimmers of the Palace through the rows of trees and between the bushes.
There were also many beautiful fountains throughout the garden, with 50 total on the grounds. Although the fountains were not running while we walked around, they were still spectacular.
We then came across the Grand Canal in the center of the garden. And just like a fairy tale we rented a row boat and floated around the pond. Mark was the boat captain and I laid back and pictured myself ruling the Palace of Versailles while my King steered us around our grounds. Just hand me a glass of champagne and it would be the perfect day dream.
After we finished with the Grand Canal, we stumbled upon the Petite Trianon – a small, more ‘livable’ château. The Petite Trianon was, however, built for the King so there was nothing unpolished about this ‘petite’ home.
We exited the Petite Trianon, from the back into the lush and flowering gardens. We couldn’t resist the urge to walk along the intimate paths, smell the flowers, and gaze at the waterfall. We ended up getting a little lost with so many intersecting paths crossing over each other, but we certainly didn’t mind the view.
Around lunch time, we headed back to the Grand Canal and found the perfect place to grab a bite.
I ordered an arugula salad, which came with pasta, olives, chicken, and capers (the size of my pinky nail), and a side of the classic olive oil and balsamic dressing. I also enjoyed a delicious chicken sandwich, with no frills, just tasty bread with the perfect chicken and tomato fillings. It was divine! I felt so Parisian.
And just as the Parisians do, the meal was finished off with a pastry and espresso. We just couldn’t resist the tempting pastries!
Walking back through the gardens, approaching Versailles for our Palace tour we got one last look at the manicured gardens. Everything was always in its place with no weeds, rogue branches, or unkept corners found.
This was absolutely the world’s most perfect garden – built for royalty.
Tip: Rent a bike and ride through the gardens! You have to return the bike at the same location where it was rented, but it would be the best (and quickest) way to see all of the gardens. Not feeling very active? They also have golf carts you can rent to drive around the gardens – although I don’t think this would be as fun as walking or biking.