And, of course, what takes the cake, preferably a chocolate cake by Ducasse, is an unprecedented access to the palace. Each evening, after the Imperial Gates close to crowds of visitors, guests can embark on guided tours and explore corners such as the forbidden locker rooms connected to the King and Queen’s Apartments – well worth a look. to compare them to your own room at the Grand Control while discovering the often scandalous behind the scenes. Even more exciting is a moment of reflection in an empty Hall of Mirrors, the impressive gallery where some of the greatest royal parties took place. This is also where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919. Access to certain parts of the estate is also granted before it opens to the public, followed by a walk through the labyrinth of gardens by landscape designer André Le Nôtre. Not easily adapting to her duties, Marie-Antoinette often retired to the Petit Trianon, a gift from Louis XVI. The pastoral landscape near the queen’s hamlet offered her a place to lead a simpler existence and indulge in one or two secret love affairs. A stroll through its beloved English gardens and Louis XIV’s Grand Trianon are among the highlights of the morning.
Staying here is like receiving an after-hours access pass to all areas. With all the Versailles park at your disposal, it is possible to disappear for a clandestine picnic along the Grand Canal. Or stretch out on an antique daybed while feasting on Ladurée macaroons. Or ring a bell for a candlelit dinner in your private apartments. However you choose to spend your time reliving history, returning to reality without a butler in sight will be difficult.
Address: The Grand Control, 12 Rue de l’Indépendance Américaine, 78000 Versailles, France
Price: Doubles at Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle from around £ 1,460, including breakfast, afternoon tea, palace tours and use of boats and golf carts.
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