Walking out of the château into the wide spacious garden was a breath of fresh air. I was pretty sure that all of Paris had decided to come to Versailles that day. Marie Antoinette didn’t have a clue when she said to Madame du Barry,”there are a lot of people at Versailles today.” Being in the middle of a crowd of tourists on a sweltering day without air conditioning was like being in a sauna. Outside it was still hot with the sun a-blazing, but it was nice getting away from all the people. At first I wandered aimlessly around the garden, but then I started to get the feeling that the garden was a lot bigger than I had anticipated. I hastily pulled out a map and found the garden to be the size of a national park.
The tall garden walls made for some much needed shade and had an enchanting maze like quality. Memories of childhood stories such as the secret garden came back to me. It wouldn’t have been all that bad if it wasn’t for the fact that I somehow missed seeing all the groves tucked away behind the walls. The one I did manage to find the entrance to had been closed off for maintenance. As a handful of people in golf-carts drove by, I was tempted to ask if I could hitch a ride. The garden felt as if it was growing longer as I walked towards the Apollo fountain. When I did finally reach the Apollo fountain, it felt as though I was seeing a perfectly preserved scene of this grand chariot emerging out of the water, with Apollo ready to charge forward. It was a shame that the fountains weren’t running as it must be a splendid sight when they are.
This mother and child had the right idea in renting bikes to see the gardens. Before leaving the Versailles, I made one last stop at the Petit Trianon which I’ll feature in an upcoming post. The Petit Trianon is where Marie Antoinette spent most of her time away from the main château.