Versailles – Lush greenery, sights and culinary escapades

Most tourists come to Versailles on a day trip from Paris, chiefly to visit the Palace. But the town has much more to offer than ‘just’ the Château de Versailles. Let the German travel and food blogger, Reisehappen, whisk you off to Versailles to discover the town’s beautiful parks, stroll through the charming alleys of the Notre Dame quarter and take yourself off on a culinary tour of Versailles’ farm.

Versailles does hipster – Positive Café

You can eat like kings in Versailles too. To my utter amazement, there are also really cool hipster cafés in Versailles, like the Positive Café, which invites you to light lunch after a stroll through the parks. The café surprises with its shabby chic, homemade lemonade, tasty bowls and other healthy, sometimes vegetarian and vegan, dishes. Exclusively organic ingredients from the region are served here, and you can taste it.

Positive Café - 9 Rue de Satory

Baroque sounds and water fountains – the gardens of the Palace of Versailles

You could spend a whole day in the palace’s gardens alone and still not see everything. Wander along the radial paths away from the palace, past the geometrically laid-out gardens, the orangery, small waterfalls and delightful pavilions. But one thing you absolutely mustn’t miss is the musical fountains. On summer weekends and Tuesdays, water bubbles out of the park’s fountains, accompanied by musical sounds from Lully in the baroque style, like in the times of the Sun King.

As a guest in the king’s vegetable garden – Le Potager du Roi

It’s just as green in the Potager du Roi as in the palace gardens. Even today they’re an absolute insider tip and you stroll here more or less alone through the Sun King’s fruit and vegetable gardens. He was politely said to be a good eater and commissioned the Potager du Roi to supply the court with fresh fruit and vegetables. He particularly liked artichokes, asparagus, peas and pears and the small woodland strawberries. However, he developed a severe allergy to the latter and moved onto figs. Some of the fig trees still stand in the striking baroque vegetable gardens, as well as about 195 different varieties of apple, artfully pruned pear trees and vegetable patches with crisp green salad and several hundred other types of vegetables.

The menu reads like a starred restaurant – Restaurant Le Bistrot du 11

Crunchy fresh vegetables are also on the menu in Le Bistrot du 11, which reads like the menu in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Little wonder, since the owner and head chef, Jean-Baptiste Lavergne-Morazzani, earned a Michelin star at his very first restaurant, La Table du 11. The restaurant doesn’t just impress with its creative fresh bistro cuisine, but also with its modern, stylish interior.

Le Bistrot du 11 - 10 Rue de Satory

On the trail of Marie Antoinette with an e-bike – a cycling tour to the Petit Trianon

Fortified after a good meal, it’s time to head back to the huge estate that is Versailles, where you could easily spend several days. That’s why renting a bike is recommended, or taking a guided cycling tour with Versailles Events, to get to know the hidden corners of the estate, like the Petit Trianon. Away from the hordes of tourists at the palace is the rococo château de plaisance, the Petit Trianon. Louis XVI gifted it to his wife Marie Antoinette, so that she could escape the hustle and rigid protocol of the court. It is peaceful and quiet in the gorgeous park surrounding the small château, and the Queen’s Hamlet as well as the English and French gardens invite you to take a stroll.

Eat like a king at court in Versailles – ReminiSens Restaurant Théâtre

As the name suggests, ReminiSens isn’t simply a restaurant, it’s also a theatre. On entering the restaurant, you travel back in time to the 18th century. In a historic costume, a marquess receives you in the proper style in her salon. To eat are dishes that were once served in the court of Versailles, like guinea fowl, the then much-loved peas, asparagus, blue-cheese mousse with grapes and strawberry desserts. Between courses you get to enjoy a play, which you can choose yourself and which is then performed at your table. So whilst you’re eating you experience more of the latest gossip in Versailles, as well as the intrigue and scandal at the court, or about the dangerous liaisons of Louis XV.

ReminiSens Restaurant - 20 Rue Baillet Reviron

Foodies and antiques enthusiasts – roam through the Notre Dame quarter

Foodie hearts will beat faster in the market in Rue du Maréchal Foch, where there are towers of French cheese, freshly-caught fish and shellfish, fruit and seasonal vegetables, French sausage specialities hang from the ceiling and there is an abundance of regional wine specialities to try and buy. Fortified, the route continues on in the ‘Quartier des Antiquaires’, the district of antiques dealers, with countless small shops that will make collectors’ hearts beat faster. Drift along the captivating little alleyways and discover the small shops with antique furniture, picture frames, old books, plates and any number of curiosities and let the quarter’s charm cast a spell on you.

Spend the night in Versailles – Hôtel du Jeu de Paume

It’s worth staying a bit longer in Versailles, because on a day trip you can’t even discover a fraction of this beautiful town. In any case, there are some really delightful hotels in Versailles, such as the Hôtel du Jeu de Paume. This charming hotel in the town centre is only a few metres away from the palace, but far enough from the hustle and bustle. It scores not only for the extremely courteous staff and informal atmosphere, but also for the individually furnished, modern rooms and a quaint courtyard; breakfast is served here in fine weather.

Hôtel du Jeu de Paume - 5 bis Rue de Fontenay

Versailles