The Trianon Palace Hotel is a royal meeting ground of elegant, contemporary decor and conservative worldliness. Perhaps this is what Marie Antoinette’s home would look like if she were alive today, complete with Guerlain spa and a Gordon Ramsay restaurant. Or perhaps she would still prefer to romp about in the hayfields. In any case, the hotel suits both a business and leisure traveler just fine. In fact, I found myself surrounded by quite a mix of guests from all over the world. While having a quick bite on the patio closest to the courtyard, I found myself in the midst of multiple business meetings (meetings with chic women in short dresses drinking expensive bottles of wine no less), but there were also a myriad of couples visiting the area from the states, small groups of fashionable Milanese men and women, and members of the French Government. Perhaps I should also say that the French Minister of Defense was visiting that evening; security was swarming and headsets were charged.
I love how the hotel is a stone’s throw from some of the most beautiful jogging paths. The park grounds are immediately behind the hotel, and oftentimes one can spot grazing farm animals outside the rear windows. I took many evening walks on these perfectly symmetrical, graciously wide, dirt roads. I felt like a little girl, walking straight down the middle with looming trees planted in measured perfection on either side of me.
Versailles is picture perfect. It is highly civilized and considered very conservative; I can understand it’s reputation as a slightly stuffy suburb, but that does not mean that it is any less beautiful. The streets are lined with posh, upscale shops: Yves Delorme, Petit Bateau, Aux Bains d’Oriane, and the like. I imagine that it is a fine place to raise children, and well-to-do suburbanites must agree as I see mostly families as I wander around the town. They are buying pain and snacks after school, on their way to a piano lesson or a class in royal etiquette, one can only assume. On a warm September afternoon in the town center, children abandon their backpacks at their beautiful mothers’ feet (all adorned in Hermes head to toe; it’s a sporting life after all), and little Jean-Damiens and Amelies dash around the flowers, statues, and symmetrical pebble paths; innocent, petit versions of their sophisticated peres and well-groomed meres. Forgive me, but I so enjoy this scene.