After vacationing in the Loire valley, we made our way from Lerné to Versailles. A pit stop at Château Chambord was a must. For Sarah and I, this would be our last stop before departing for the states. Though its namesake is well known, the city of Versailles is, at this moment, most definitely a suburb of Paris. We planned to have at least 2 Paris days and didn’t mind the short train ride into the city. Beyond the Château, Versailles has a lot to offer. There is a great little weekend market and loads of great restaurants.
On the day of the Fêtes, we spent the first part of the day lazing around the hotel. Sleeping in, breakfast, some last minute garment adjustments, a Starbucks run and then finally getting ready.
Let me start by saying it was warm and humid, which made prepping more difficult. Even ironing increased the room temperature in our small hotel room because there was NO air conditioning! Ugh.
After getting the garments ironed, hair and makeup for those who needed it, we were ready! For Sarah’s hair we chose a riff from Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.
Now, I am by no means good at hair, but I did my best, given the fact that Sarah’s small ringlet curling iron died on the trip!
Here, you can see Sarah making her way down the stairs in the hotel as we departed for the palace and me just before entering ( I just couldn’t bare to put that frock on as it was so hot and humid!)
Our hotel was at most a block away from the entrance! Our close friend, who did a lot of the planning really did a fantastic job getting us this close. We did reserve our rooms over a year ago though! If you’re interested in this hotel as a possibility in the future, its name is Hotel de France – Versailles.
Walking up to the first entrance was already pretty exciting. One could see others also coming to the event also lining up. I could tell already we were in for a real treat with the level of costuming seen below.
Below, here we are at the gates.
Our tickets allowed us early entry into the palace and it was really amazing to see the courtyard basically empty. Those that were there were dressed in 18th century garb!
We were greeted with Champagne and live, period music at the entrance to the Château. After settling in, our group (there were 7 of us) gathered with others for a private tour of the opera house, which consisted of the upper and lower balcony section and the king and queen’s private viewing area. After the tour, we headed to a lounge and sipped more champagne and nibbled on small amuse-bouche.
There were several great events planned for the guests, which included a concert in the chapelle (below), dancing, tours of Madame Du Barry’s chambers and many other activities.
Sitting in the chapelle, listening to a private concert where the organ was used.
A word on costumes
The folks attending this soirée came in really top notch period wear. Of course, there were a few who didn’t go all out, but there were so many over the top and high-quality gowns and frocks that the others just melted away into the background.
We met serious costumers like Kendra Van Cleave, author of 18th Century Hair and WigStyling.
The evening was spent wandering the open spaces reserved for the soirée, mingling, catching up with friends, oh, and generally just sweating. But…it was most definitely an event to remember! At the end, we all gathered into the hall of mirrors, danced and watched fireworks from the windows. Truly amazing!
La Galerie des Glaces filled up with amazing period costumes.
So – I have come to the end of my costuming adventure, which started almost a year ago! Along the way, I have had some memorable cocktails in beautiful cities all over the world. I’ve hunted for fabric and buttons in those same places!
We had a marvelous vacation in France and the piece de résistance was attending Fêtes Galantes 2018!
Please drop me a note if you have questions on anything or even for general feedback. I look forward to it!
5 thoughts on “Fêtes Galantes”
Hello! I enjoyed your article on the Fete Galante! We are planning on going in 2020. And we are planning on staying at the Hotel De France, as well. I’m hoping we can at least get a room with an A/C window unit?? the website said you can request air conditioning… Also, is their air conditioning in the Palace itself?
Which ticket package was it that allowed you to get in earlier? Was the Kings and Queens ticket? Any other tips would be greatly appreciated.. We are also traveling from the states. Did you pack your costumes or did you ship them to the hotel? Apologies for all the questions, but we’d like our trip next year to go as smoothly as possible! Thanks so much in advance!! Anita
Hi! Glad you liked it. We had a blast. We were three groups at the hotel and none of us had A/C, unfortunately. It wasn’t hot, not per se, except that we were all getting ready for the Fetes and wearing all those clothes and the warmth of the day made it worse with no A/C. There is no A/C in Versailles and some areas are warmer than others. They will open windows, but not all of them. We got the Kings/Queens tickets, which gave you access to Champagne and nibbles and a private area to sit, though if you leave someone else with the same tickets could also take your seat.
I’d recommend just packing your garb and bringing it with you over shipping it, but that was just my preference and it is a lot cheaper I think.
Thank you so much! So despite no a/c in the hotel and Versailles, and with the Kings/Queens’s tickets (which we are planning on getting) with potentially losing your seat if you leave, it was still worth it? Also, should we eat dinner before we go, or are the nibbles enough to hold us over for the evening? And, I heard that we absolutely need the hard copy tickets in hand (not digitally on our phones) to get into the event…is that true? Your photos are great! Did you hire a photographer? If so, could you recommend who you used… or someone else? Thank you so much for your patience with all my questions… !
Bien sûr! Totally worth it. I think the food is adequate for the evening. Besides, I’m not sure you’re there to eat, right? Champs for everyone and enjoy the ambience. What was nice about the king’s/queen’s tickets was the private tour of the opera house. That was pretty amazing. We picked our tickets up just before we entered rather than having them sent to us. Just seemed easiest.
All my photos were captured on my iPhone X by me or my wife! All of my troupe also used their mobiles for photography, so I’m not sure I can be of any more help! If you have more questions, just fire away.
Thank you so, so much. You’ve been very helpful!