Every time I visit Paris I say, "let's go to Versailles!" then I plan it out and never go.
This past summer I told my family that we would spend the layover of our July vacation abroad in Versailles and, for once, everyone agreed.
Versailles is everything one thinks it would be: old, magical, inspiring...and crowded, hot, and HUGE. I had no idea just how vast it was, but set out on my journey full of excitement and curiosity.
It's hard to put into words just how stunning the 800+ hectares of gardens are. For someone like me—a minimalist with a decadent heart—there is literally nothing that compares to the classic French garden aesthetic. Hedges surround a vast array of wildflowers, creating a beautiful juxtaposition of form, as topiaries surround the grounds in various shapes like perfect little soldiers. Meticulously manicured lawns, parterres, sculptures and fountains inspire every step, offering the ultimate sensory experience. Just make sure you have lunch!
To avoid any hangry moments, I recommend the following outposts for petit déjeuner:
1. Gordon Ramsey at the Palace Trianon Hotel: My family and I had a bountiful French brunch at this très chic restaurant in the Palace Trianon Hotel. The Michelin Star hot spot is your best bet for the full Versailles experience as is located along the eastern entrance of the gardens. http://www.trianonpalace.fr
2. Cafe Angelina at Marie Antoinette's Estate: At the entrance of Marie Antoinette's Estate, this Parisian staple has no shortage of eclairs or espressos. Great for a mid-trip pick me up. http://www.angelina-paris.fr
3. Bar cart at the entrance of the Grand Trianon: The finale of my garden tour required a petit Sauvignon Blanc toast in a plastic cup and (merci beaucoup!) this cute little bar cart at the Grand Trianon fulfilled my needs. Its wildy famous counterpart Mister Patates also gave me the delicious baked potato I needed to finish strong. http://www.misterpatates.com
I could go on and on about the gardens (and I will! Don't worry!), but it is also interesting to note that every summer the gardens host a solo summer show for contemporary artists, which has included Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons in the past. As this year's exhibition for Anish Kapoor comes to a close on November 1, it would be tragic not to look back on the buzz it created, not only in the gardens, but also in newspapers around the world.
"Dirty Corner" is the main focal point in a chain of installations along the central axis of the garden and has gained the nickname "Queen's Vagina" for its suggestively feminine form and location. See it? Nothing like a little Anish Kapoor to liven up the backyard of Louis XIV.
Olafur Eliasson is on deck for Summer 2016 - I can't wait to see what he has in store for us. #itsplantporn
See what else Anish Kapoor is up to HERE