We drove up the pale gravel driveway in the pouring rain. I was apprehensive, to say the least. This trip was a birthday present for Mr French, who travels so much for work that I usually organize more local celebrations. Then, there had been a series of complications with our reservations, my bank card had gone MIA so the birthday boy was going to have to pay, and now, the rain.
A valet opened the car door and I headed to reception where my heart sank worried Mr French was going to feel like this was more business than pleasure when I saw the long line of other guests. The line went quickly and soon the receptionist was giving us a huge smile. A REALLY huge smile that had me feeling like we were on Candid Camera. She handed us the key card telling us we’d received an upgrade to a suite. With a view. I shrugged nonchalantly and made our way to the elevator, pushing number 6. It didn’t work. The second elevator didn’t go to the 6th floor and the staircase ended at the 5th floor. I looked for the hidden camera, feeling like a clown in a comedy of errors.
The manager had to explain how to get to our room. We climbed the stairs, opened the door and our jaws dropped. The mood changed from a SNL skit to a fairy tale in an instant and I started looking for pumpkins, mice or a glass slipper. We were at the Trianon Palace Hotel, so its not that strange that I felt like a princess, but this suite was truly royal with three rooms, a private balcony and a view of the Chateau de Versailles. Happy Birthday, my deserving prince!
As lovely as it was, we could not spend all day in our room(s). We had to get out and Versailles has an interesting antiques quartier that Mr French likes to explore. First, we stopped at Les Halles, Notre Dame indoor market to admire the lovely fall harvest along the way. It looked so tempting that Mr French almost wished we had access to a kitchen. Almost..
The rain was still coming down, so we clung to each other under our umbrella throughout the afternoon. It was terribly romantic until even the umbrella was saturated, our British rain coats soaked through and our shoes sopping wet. We returned to the hotel cold and damp, anxious to warm up in their gym. But then we got to the room and there were snacks waiting for us with house made marshmallows, and the mosaic tiled bathroom floor was heated and everything was so cozy, we just curled up to enjoy the moment; the sound of the rain beating the zinc roof above our heads, sheets of water rolling down the oeil de boeuf windows, the château in the background.
Its was delicious knowing that we were safe from the elements, and that we wouldn’t be needing our (very wet) coats until the next morning. Eventually we made our way down to the gym, then the pool where we planned to simply relax, but at nearly 20 meters long, this was almost a lap pool and we were off, burning calories in anticipation of the night’s dinner at the two star Gordon Ramsay restaurant (article coming Friday).
Hours later,I headed out of our room dressed to the nines, a package of silk, leather and wool wrapped in pearls absolutely thrilled to leave behind my coat and handbag. I returned much later than night padding along the carpeted corridors, those 3″ heels comfortably in hand.
The night was a dream. The morning even more so, as we opened our eyes to blue skies, the offspring of Marie Antoinette’s livestock in the fields below, munching away on dew-dressed blades of grass. Sumptuous.
Awake and ready to go, we ran around the Grand Canal (8km) as the sun drew mist from the trees, before heading back to our suite for a picture perfect breakfast in the sunshine on our private balcony over looking the chateau. We sat there for hours, “lizarding” in the autumn sunshine, thanking our fairy godmother (and the management of the Trianon Palace Hotel) for this truly regal get away.