I’ve obsessed over Versailles since I first caught Sofia Coppola’s cult classic “Marie Antoinette” starring teen queen Kristen Dunst. Ladurée made the pastel perfect pastries and Manolo Blahnik designed the shoes. I was in love immediately.
It would take another three years before I could finally visit the famous chateau in real life. And it was every bit as exciting and glamorous as I imagined. Today, Versailles is practically in my backyard, so weekend trips to frolic in the gardens (especially in the low season when entry is free!) are a regular occurrence.
A few weeks ago, Salah and I packed up the car and headed out to a magical evening to explore the fountains and groves during the special Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes musical fountains show. When night falls, the gardens are transformed and the fountains burst alive to the rhythm of classical French court music and dramatic lighting. The night ends with a fantastical fireworks display complete with flaming torches. Needless to say, my 3-year-old was diggin’ it.
Even while 37 weeks pregnant, the gardens were easy to manoeuvre toddler in tow with our new Joovy Caboose Ultralight stand-on stroller — one of my must-have minimalist baby products for city life. We decided to take it out before the newborn arrived just to see what it was like and we were not disappointed!
If you have kids in Paris, or if you’re simply visiting, don’t be shy about taking a trip to Versailles. While strollers are strictly interdit inside the chateau, there is still plenty to explore outside in the gardens. There is even bike rental available to check out the grounds on two-wheels. And when the kids get a little restless, there’s nothing a plate of french fries from the onsite brasserie La Flotille can’t cure.
The Fountains Night Show runs every Saturday until September 16, 2017 from 8:30 pm to 11:05 pm (musical displays from 8:30 pm to 10:45 pm and fireworks from 10:50 pm to 11:05 pm).
Top: purchased in Rome
Hat: Benoit Missolin