Hameau de la Reine, Versailles

#15 of 23 in Historic Sites in Versailles
Castle · Hidden Gem · Farm
The Hameau de la Reine (French pronunciation: ​[amo də la ʁɛn], The Queen's Hamlet) is a rustic retreat in the park of the Château de Versailles built for Marie Antoinette in 1783 near the Petit Trianon in Yvelines, France. It served as a private meeting place for the Queen and her closest friends; a place of leisure. Designed by the Queen's favoured architect, Richard Mique with the help of the painter Hubert Robert, it contained a meadowland with lakes and streams, a classical Temple of Love on an island with fragrant shrubs and flowers, an octagonal Belvédère, with a neighbouring grotto and cascade. There are also various buildings in a rustic or vernacular style, inspired by Norman or Flemish design, situated around an irregular pond fed by a stream that turned a mill wheel. The building scheme included a farmhouse, (the farm was to produce milk and eggs for the queen), a dairy, a dovecote, a boudoir, a barn that burned down during the French Revolution, a mill and a tower in the form of a lighthouse. Each building is decorated with a garden, an orchard or a flower garden. The largest and most famous of these houses is the "Queen's House", connected to the Billiard house by a wooden gallery, at the center of the village. A working farm was close to the idyllic, fantasy-like setting of the Queen's Hamlet.

The hameau is the best-known of a series of rustic garden constructions built at the time, notably the Prince of Condé's Hameau de Chantilly (1774–1775) which was the inspiration for the Versailles hamlet. Such model farms, operating under principles espoused by the Physiocrats, were fashionable among the French aristocracy at the time. One primary purpose of the hameau was to add to the ambiance of the Petit Trianon, giving the illusion that it was deep in the countryside rather than within the confines of Versailles. The rooms at the hameau allowed for more intimacy than the grand salons at Versailles or at the Petit Trianon.

Abandoned after the French Revolution, it was renovated in the late 1990s and is open to the public.

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  • It's lovely to walk around this area which feels very rural with even a working farm. I can imagine how the Queen must have felt during her time here.  more »
  • Tucked away at a back corner of the palace grounds is this delightfully restored hamlet that the queen regarded as her retreat from the hectic life of palace activities. It is truly a peaceful...  more »
  • An incredible place! It is like at Disneyland : everything is beautiful but fake. It will certainly remind you of the great movie by Sophia Coppola : Marie-Antoinette. Some scenes were shot here indeed.
  • Very interesting to see how quaint the village of unique houses were put together, the animals (sheep, hens, rabbits, goats and pigs) in little pens and the created lake with fish and ducks. It's quaint and cute but strange to think how Marie Antoinette had orchestrated it. It is a shame there were not any plaques summarising the history and a shame that none of the buildings are open to the public but still worth finding in the vast gardens.
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