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 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 s cocoon 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. 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. 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. 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, Jeff Koons, and most recently Anish Kapoor. On June 7 2016 the gardens will welcome Olafur Eliasson for a special summer surprise and I can't wait to see what he has in store for us. #itsplantporn