Saturday, July 9, 2022
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Living like Royalty in Versailles

Just in time for our 10th wedding anniversary this past June, I was assigned a very regal assignment for Condé Nast Traveller. This included a three-day stay at brand new hotel Le Grand Contrôle, set within the grounds of Château de Versailles. WHAT A DREAM! I was thrilled to play queen for a day, or three. With my king by my side.

Immediately upon passing through the doors of Le Grand Contrôle, you feel as though you’ve entered into another era. One in which it’s easy to feel underdressed with the staff buttoned up in stately uniforms.

Upon arriving, our personal butler settled us into our room, or shall I say lavish suite, named after the Necker family. He was a finance minister for Louis XVI and his wife helped to establish a children’s hospital in Paris.

After discovering the desk I decided this would be where I’d write my memoirs. With a feather plume, of course.

The heavenly view from the bathroom looked directly onto Château de Versailles. Even from my morning bath.

The rest of the antique-filled hotel proved just as well-appointed as our suite. From the game room to the downstairs lounge to the dining salons. And might I add that dinner set quite a theatrical stage!

The privilege of staying at Le Grand Contrôle, in addition to feeling like part of the royal court and dining at the helm of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, is an after-hours guided tour of Château de Versailles.

One of the most magical moments, other than a behind-the-scenes look at the Queen’s Chambers, was walking through an empty Hall of Mirrors. The perfect photo op! It was our wedding anniversary, after all.

Mornings at Le Grand Contrôle included a private guided tour of the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, or the Queen’s Hamlet. Following each visit, I was beginning to understand Marie Antoinette on a much deeper level.

The stay at Le Grand Contrôle felt like living in the most regal period in French history. From a picnic on the grounds of Versailles to a candlelit dinner in our chambers. And let’s not forget the subterranean spa. Read all about my experience in the September issue of Condé Nast Traveller, October issue of CN Traveler US, or online.

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