Day at Versailles - Night at Vaux

Day: While the extravagant palace of Versailles is an experience in itself, even more magic awaits on the grounds of the palace. Beyond the fountains, beyond the manicured gardens, you'll find the Petit Trianon and Hameau de la Reine, where, long ago, Marie Antoinette carried on a private life of her own, far from the prying eyes of the public. Glimpse into the royal pleasures of simple, rural pursuits, away from the pomp of court ,in the Petit Trianon and finally the Queen's Hamlet, a Norman-style thatched cottage built for Mairie Antoinette, where she played the role of a a shepherdess in her own private theatre.

Night: One of the most romantic and interesting experiences you will ever have is to see the Chateau Vaux le Vicomte by Candlelight, illuminated by 2000 candles. En route you'll stop at a romantic dinner nearby at a wonderful gastronomic country restaurant and glass of champagne strolling the gardens and watching the Fireworks on the lawn.

The Secret Love of Marie Antoinette

The Petit Trianon is a small chateau set back on the grounds of Versailles that was built in the 1760s, in the neoclassical style. It was actually ordered by Louis XV and meant for his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, but she died before its completion. Louis XVI then gifted it to Marie Antoinette in 1774, four years into their marriage. Marie ruled here and indeed spent more and more time here as the years passed. Her friends would visit and put on amateur theatrical productions with her, and sometimes she would even invite her husband for dinner, though he never slept there.

The Hameau de la Reine was built in 1783 especially for Marie Antoinette, and is a small rustic village near the Petit Trianon complete with a farmhouse, dovecote, and mill. It also has lakes and streams, a grotto with a cascade, and farm animals. Marie and her ladies would dress as shepherdesses and play at peasant life, milking the cows and collecting eggs. Marie loved flowers and had a rose garden here also that she would tend herself when the mood struck her.

The story goes that Marie Antoinette and Hans Axel von Fersen had met at a ball in Paris when they were both 18. They danced together, but it was a masked ball and so they did not see each other's identities, but then got to talking, removed their masks, and were fast friends thereafter. Marie was taken not only by von Fersen's respectfulness, but also by his attentiveness, which must have been refreshing and incredibly flattering after facing the disinterest of her husband day in and day out. She began inviting him to Versailles and eventually he had his own apartment in the Petit Trianon directly above the queen's rooms. Some of their correspondence is still available, and reveals a great intimacy between the two. Rumors circulated that he was the father of her children, as her marriage had gone on for several years without producing an heir, but then suddenly did. Von Fersen arranged to go to America with the French troops during a time when these rumors were at their most vicious, in an attempt to salvage Marie's reputation as best he could.

Von Fersen remained loyal to the end, as he not once but twice tried to help the royal family escape once they were held prisoner in the Tuileries. During this time, he and Marie wrote encoded letters to each other. He was also known to have told his sister that he'd never marry because the woman he loved was already taken. In the end, saving Marie from execution proved to be impossible, and he would die in a violent way himself almost two decades later, never having forgotten the one true romance of his life that unfolded at Versailles.

As you wander through the grounds of Versailles, think of Marie Antoinette, her beloved soldier, and the gorgeous romance they shared here, if only for a while. Theirs was one of the great romances of French history.

per couple


Includes: Private transfers / guide / entries
Option 1: Versailles: 20 min helicopter ride over the Valley Chevreuse
Option 2: Vaux: Gastronomic 3 course dinner (excluding drinks), flute of champagne in the garden
Available: Versailles (Daily except Monday ) Vaux (Saturdays in the summer)

optional extras

tour reviews

Used Larry Davis on a trip to Paris. He is very professional and answered all of our question in a timely manner. He was always available by email when we arrived and had some questions.  We had perhaps one of the best days possible in Paris. This private tour was amazing. Well worth every penny. We were welcomed at our hotel on time and as expected. 
5 Stars

Hi Larry,Thanks very much for everything. I think the helicopter, wine tasting, the rolls, dinner was very great. It was good to have an Australian take the photos.
5 Stars

Dear Larry,   Lee and I want to tell you how wonderful Marie is and how we enjoyed the day with her.  We did Chantilly first and as I have been a horse owner this was perfect for me. We had lunch at a small cafe in Chantilly Marie picked, excellent and then on to Malmasion. The entire day was wonderful and she made it special with her great personality and knowledge.   Thank-You. For Now So Long      Sandy
5 Stars

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