On one of our days in Paris, my brother and I took the RER C (the regional/local train in Paris) out to Versailles. I was excited to see the Hall of Mirrors (like in the Epcot movie!) and the grand gardens.
I did my research online beforehand and got a 2-for-1 billet (ticket!) on a deal on the Versailles website - it was when I was purchasing the ticket that I got the suspicion that Versailles was much bigger than I had imagined. And, to paraphrase Han Solo, I could imagine quite a bit - of palace that is!
Beyond the main palace at Versailles that you always see in pictures (which is pretty darn huge just in itself!), there are two more palaces towards the back of the gardens. They're called the Grand and Petit Trianon palaces. It seemed like the Grand Trianon was more for the king, and the Petit Trianon was more for the queen - Marie Antoinette at least favored the latter. Apparently Napoleon later used the Trianon palaces and gave one to his sister.
I have four brothers. Surely one day, one of them can manage to give me a palace, right? ;)
Anyway, my unexpected favorite part of the visit came at the Petit Trianon. We were wandering through the gardens to get to the little hamlet where Marie Antoinette used to play peasant. The first sight of it was some charming thatch rooftops, just off in the distance, then soon we came to a picturesque little lake surrounded by darling cottages.
It felt rather like stepping into Belle's village! This was what I pictured when I imagined New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom - and this was built hundreds of years ago! There were so many lovely touches in the design and architecture - a balcony here or a garden there or an interesting tower window. Sadly you couldn't enter the houses, but just to wander around them was such a pleasure.
I wonder if the Imagineers did a research trip for New Fantasyland - this would have been a great place to come for inspiration!
Thinking about it, I realized that the hamlet and the gardens were like Marie Antoinette's own private Disney World. Not that I approve of the excess - we got so tired walking around the whole grounds of Versailles that I began to wonder that the kings and queens didn't become weary of it all themselves - but I am rather glad that visitors today can see such beautiful sights!
**Once again I can't figure out how to position photos in the blogger app, so I'm afraid they're all lumped together below! Sorry!**