Friday, July 20, 2012

Timeshare Travel - When is Versailles More Than Gold?

A timeshare vacation in Paris is an immersion in a different world. The City of Light is certainly modern enough, but much of what visitors see hearken back to a different era. One where the kings and queens of France lived lavishly, whether in the city or in the country.

A quick 20-minute drive from Paris is the royal “country” estate called Château de Versailles – the Palace of Versailles. While the concept began in the mid 1600s, through the 18th century Kings Louis 14, 15 and 16 created what we see today.

These kings effectively moved the political power of France from Paris to Versailles, which at the time was a couple of days’ ride from Paris, out in the country where the monarchs could enjoy peace and tranquility between the chores of governing and lavishly entertaining the aristocracy.

The most well-known tenants of Versailles are King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette. With their famous excesses in living they are the ones who put the final touches on the palace that gives it the extravagant glamour it has today.

Versailles is synonymous with sumptuous opulence on a royal scale. From its gilded Hall of Mirrors, to its King's Apartments laid out in gleaming marble, to the Queen's all-gold Bed Chamber (see top photo), Versailles is an opportunity for visitors to experience over-the-top wealth, at least for a few hours.

But "rustic?" That's hardly a term to be associated with Versailles, or is it? What many people don't know is that Marie Antoinette yearned for a retreat from the Palace, and built what is known as her "rustic" Haneau de la Reine (The Queen's Hamlet).

At the time (1783) it was fashionable among the French aristocracy to support "Model Farms," based on the "Physiocracy" theory that the wealth of nations came from the value of "land agriculture." Twelve rustic cottages were built for Haneau de la Reine. One was the Queen's personal cottage, 4 were reserved for her use, and the remaining seven were functional farm houses, used for the agriculture.

But, Marie Antoinette being Marie Antoinette, "rustic" can go just so far. In addition to the cottages her Haneau de la Reine also included  botanical gardens, lakes, streams, a grotto with a flowing waterfall, and even a Temple of Love on its own island.

Plan to rent budget-friendly timeshare in Paris, and visit Versailles - it's two sides of a fascinating coin.

If you’ll be renting a timeshare in London you can still visit Versailles by taking the quick 2-hour ride to Paris on EuroStar through the Chunnel.

Photo Credit (top): en.wikepedia.org
Photo Credit (bottom): Mike Swenson

No comments:

Post a Comment