Marie Antoinette’s Farm

The Queen’s Hamlet, Marie Antoinette’s quaint little village and farm which is also known as the L’Hameau de la Reine, is one of the highlights of Versailles.
Why hadn’t I been here before? I’m not sure how, but in my previous visits, I had managed to miss one of the stars of Versailles. Thank heavens for our guide, Deborah Anthony from French Travel Boutique

The hamlet was created in the style of a minature Norman village. It contained the farm, twelve thatched cottages, a dovecote, mill and tower, all of which Marie Antoinette had built in 1783 by her favourite architect, Richard Mique and landscape gardener, Andre Le Notre.
She loved the simplicity of country life and wanted to indulge in it. She also wanted the farm to help create the illusion that the Petit Trianon was in the countryside.

As you walk through the gate, you do feel as though you are in the country. Goats, ducks and geese roam the grounds around the buildings whilst children gather to pet the pigs in the sty.

Farm Buildings at the Hamlet, Versailles

Animals roam in the grounds

Farm Buildings at the Hamlet, Versailles

Children love to pet the pig

The buildings are beautiful in a rustic way. Left to disrepair after the revolution, they were thankfully restored in the late 1990’s. They all have a thatched roof complete with grasses growing from them and flowering window boxes. Marie Antoinette and her companions often collected the eggs and milked the cows here.

Farm Buildings at the Queen's Hamlet, Versailles

Another beautiful farm building

Farm Buildings at the Queen's Hamlet, Versailles

Another view

Flower boxes on the farm buildings at the Queen's Hamlet, Versailles

Pretty flower boxes

Decoration on the wall of a farm building, Queen's Hamlet, Versailles

A beautifully painted wall of one of the farm buildings

A farmer was appointed by Marie Antoinette to manage the farm, so that it’s vegetable gardens, fields, orchards and vineyards supplied produce to the palace kitchens. You pass these on your short walk to the lake and village houses.

Looking back over the vineyards to the farm at the Queen's Hamlet, Versailles

Looking back over the vineyards to the farm

The vegetable garden at the Queen's Hamlet, Versailles

The vegetable garden

The orchard at the Queen's Hamlet, Versailles

The orchard

The largest house is the “Queen’s House” at the center of the village, overlooking the lake. It is actually two buildings joined by a wooden gallery where, we are told, Marie Antoinette, dressed in white muslin, would watch over the workers.

The Queen's House overlooking the lake at the Hamlet at Versailles

The Queen's House overlooking the lake

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The Queen's House showing the walkway connecting the two buildings

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Another view of the Queen's House

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Balconies at the Queen's House

Most of the houses in the village had their own vegetable garden surrounded by hedges.

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The Maison du Garde-the housekeeper's cottage

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The Mill.

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The Dovecote

The Marlborough Tower, next to the lake, was used as the starting point for boat rides as well as an observatory.

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The Marlborough Tower

This truly is a fairytale village. I can’t wait to come back for another visit, maybe with a picnic lunch, and spend time surrounded by the intriguing history of Marie Antoinette’s playground.

Have you found this special corner of Versailles?

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3 Responses to Marie Antoinette’s Farm

  1. Revati Victor September 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Wow. Your’s seems like such a different experience. We went in the winter, and while it was undoubtedly beautiful (ironically, it’s by far my favourite part of Versailles.) Your post has inspired me to want to go back and rediscover the Hamlet in the spring/summer. Why don’t you discover our (very different) experience of the Hamlet in the winter here: http://different-doors.com/hamlet-versailles/

    • [email protected] September 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      It was great to have a look at your fabulous photos of the Hamlet in Winter. Whatever the season, it is certainly a part of Versailles not to be missed….and my favourite too! Thanks for your comments and the pointer to your site.
      PS When is the Mumbai guide coming!!

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