We exited the palais into acres and acres of gardens and beautiful fountains. The vista from the palace down across lawns extending forever and is beautiful. The place was packed with tourists and being here in winter we do not see the garden in bloom, but summer is a madhouse here so we feel lucky to have missed all the tourist pandemonium.
We headed off for the Grand Trianon, the small palace to which the king would retire from the court and where he would have considerable sport with his mistress, Madame Maintenon. This place clearly lacks all the gilt and majesty of the main palace, but this is hardly slumming it either.
From there we hiked a short ways to the Petit Trianon, the retreat of the Louis' son, became a favorite of Marie-Antoinette's. This is indeed smaller (hence the name) but quite comfortable, even by Mary's demanding standards.
|even kids have fun here|
We then headed through the garden, past a faux Roman temple, to my favorite spot, the peasant village Marie Antoinette had constructed. Here she would repair, assume peasant garb, and had actual peasants shipped in to create her own private peasant playground. It's good to be king, or queen.
|some have a gazebo; kings have a temple|
|small working farm just outside village|
A fairly long hike back, views of more fountains, and then a final goodbye to the Sun King.