Discovering the neighbourhood of Saint-Louis
Leave the gilded splendour of the château behind and head east to the neighbourhood of Saint-Louis, which sprang up not far from the King's kitchen garden. Do not miss a visit to this wonderful place created by the court gardener. You can take away some of the good things of this land, cultivated passionately since the 17th century, by purchasing some Mademoiselle Saint-Germain cosmetics at the kitchen garden shop. This historic beauty brand takes its inspiration from the beauty products of yesteryear, only using produce grown on site, such as the Bonneuil revitalising cream inspired by the famous cucumber pomade, whose moisturising qualities were greatly appreciated by Marie-Antoinette.
As you leave the shop, you immediately catch sight of the imposing Saint-Louis Cathedral, which majestically dominates a vast pedestrianised square. Built on the request of Louis XIV, it was only consecrated in 1754, by his great-grandson. In the meantime, architectural codes changed, and the façade is distinctively simple, with the exception of a few baroque elements. The same classical features are found inside, particularly in the light-filled nave. Take the time to admire some painting masterpieces tucked away in the different chapels, including Saint John the Baptist preaching by Boucher, or The Liberation of Saint Peter by Deshays. What was at the time just a simple church hosted several conventions of the Estates General in 1789, at the dawn of the French Revolution.
A few minutes away, you discover the Carrés Saint-Louis area, today known for its rows of very charming small houses. This extensively restored neighbourhood is arranged like a checkerboard around a central square, which enhances its convivial atmosphere. Here you will find the Vanaura art gallery, which exhibits work by established and young talent, including painters, sculptors, photographers and glassmakers…
Boutique du Potager du Roi
(King's Kitchen Garden Shop)
10 Rue du Maréchal Joffre
+ 33 (0)1 39 24 63 24
Vanaura Art Gallery
24 rue Royale
+ 33 (0)1 39 24 03 44
A gourmet paradise
You feel a little peckish. Turn back and head to the Notre Dame district. On your way, you pass by some flower stalls in the avenue de Saint-Cloud, a very pleasant and colourful sight. Barely five minutes later, you arrive in the heart of the loveliest market in the Île de France region. All around the square, the covered market, more than 360 years old, accommodates numerous businesses: artisan butchers, cheesemongers and pork butchers, not forgetting the fishmonger with his selection of very fresh fish. On Sunday morning, join all the food lovers who congregate there and wander happily down the aisles surrounded by mushrooms, organic products and homegrown tomatoes. It is a riot of shapes, colours and aromas. With your appetite whetted, you stop before the stall selling traditional Breton galettes, which you can take away or eat on the go, with honey, also from Brittany, sugar or some delicious jam. A feast!
Terre-plein des avenues de Saint-Cloud et de l'Europe
Life in the château
If you want to sample French cuisine in a more traditional setting, continue on your way along the aptly named boulevard de la Reine, or Queen's boulevard. This will lead you to a less frequented gate of the château which takes you into the Queen's hamlet. Here stands the Trianon Palace, where Gordon Ramsay exercises his talents as a multi-Michelin-starred chef. You take a seat in the beautiful gourmet restaurant of La Veranda by Gordon Ramsay whose menu features very delicious contemporary classic cuisine. Just reading the menu excites your taste buds. How to decide! Opt for the signature dishes, such as “Crusted pâté of poultry, foie gras and pistachio, with a soubise emulsion” and “Praline-chocolate with passion fruit”. If the weather permits, ask for a table on the terrace with a direct view of the gardens of the Château. All the ingredients are in place for a truly wonderful experience!
Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace
La Veranda by Gordon Ramsay
1 boulevard de la Reine
+ 33 (0)1 30 84 50 00
This extraordinary gourmet discovery in Versailles has almost made you forget Paris and its bright lights. Continue your adventure with a stroll through the streets of the capital…