Versailles, one word and the magic happens. Versailles spreads over 800 hectares and includes the Palace, the gardens, the Park, the Trianon estate and several buildings in town. Versailles is the ultimate excellence symbol of the French patrimony of the “Grand Siecle” when the French language was spoken in every European Court. After visiting Versailles, Tsar Peter The Great asked to build a palace in his image in Peterhof. The Schonbrunn castle near Vienna was a model for the Austrian Versailles. Versailles was a source of curiosity.
A brief history.
Louis XIII loved to hunt at Versailles and ordered the construction of a hunting lodge. Louis XIV who was traumatized by La Fronde des Princes, escaped from Paris and decided to settle the Royal residence in Versailles. The small castle of his father became a majestic palace and the symbol of his reign. His great grandson, Louis XV, who was born and died in Versailles transformed it. Louis XV is responsible for the full refurbishment of his apartments, the construction of the large theatre Royal Opera House where Mozart performed, The Neptune Fountain was built by Le Nôtre, slightly modified by Ange-Jacques Gabriel with the sculpted decoration glorifying the god of the sea added in 1740.
Louis XVI inherited a fragile kingdom in which lie the roots of the French revolution. His wife Austrian Princess Marie Antoinette remains one of the most iconic characters in Versailles’ rich history. Rejected by some, admired by others, Marie Antoinette is so intimately associated with two brief decades in Versailles -until the French Revolution. In Versailles, her influence is everywhere from the eighteenth century fashion to arts and music with the Petit Trianon. Since the 19th century, Versailles has been a museum. In the 1920s, American John Davison Rockefeller helped to fund the rehabilitation of the Chateau and its gardens.
So, what to expect from a stay at Le Grand Controle?
A grandiose vie de Chateau à la francaise. Le Grand Contrôle is a unique place where you are immersed in the rich French history. Part of the prestigious Airelles portfolio, Le Grand Controle -which opened last June- was built in 1681 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the architect of Louis XIV. The site is spectacular as the hotel is located inside the park of the Palace of Versailles with direct and exclusive access to the Palace, the Trianon Domain and the Orangerie gardens.
The very welcoming General Manager Julien Revah knows how to make you live like a king or queen. Sharing, family links and conservation are his favorite values and Julien brilliantly orchestrates your stay to make it unforgettable. Le Grand Controle offers 14 rooms and suites named after a notable person from history: Madame de Stael, Necker, Turgot or the Marquis de Fouquet. Nothing is ostentatious, everything is elegant.
If you want to experience being a queen, opt for Madame de Fouquet Suite. It is the most historical suite in the palace as it is built in the 400 year old building. The decor is inspired by the life of Madame de Fouquet, the Marquis de Fouquet’s wife. Very feminine, romantic, the suite is reminiscent of a royal bedroom.
High ceilings, two bathrooms -one on each side of the bedroom, restored 18th century parquet floor and bas relief, wall-hanging by Pierre Frey inspired by the archives of the Chateau. You will sleep in a sumptuous four poster bed with a view over the gardens and the private terrace. In the morning -at a time of your convenience- your personal butler will wake you up in the most discreet way as she or he opens the curtains, will bring you a drink of your choice and run a bath for you . Then you will enjoy your majestic sunrise -which means breakfast at le Grand Controle- with views over the Orangerie gardens or in your royal bed!
Walking inside the hotel is definitely a history class while hearing the Baroque and classical playlists: Bach, Vivaldi, Lully, Rameau and more. The architecture and decor of the palace was inspired by the splendor of the 18th century. Architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer realized the entire project along with a team of brilliant French artisans. It took four years to be fully completed, from the carefully sourced furnishings to the uniforms worn by the team, each element has been restored in the spirit and respect of the original building. The palace is a summary of French excellence.
“The creme des Chefs”, Alain Ducasse has imagined an aristocratic culinary experience from the past to the present. A gastronomic delight. Breakfast, royal lunch, a Marie Antoinette afternoon tea and the fabulous Grand Couvert at night are above all the expectations. Dinner at the Grand Controle is royal. Inspired by the feasts of this era, endless succulent dishes are brought to the table in waves orchestrated by the team in costume. Sublime.
The Valmont spa is another magnificent treasure. The decor is influenced by the courtyard of the Chateau de Versailles: marble, stone, busts, hand-painted fresco ceiling. Inside the atmosphere is very calm. Try the “Miroir Majesteux” created exclusively for the hotel by Valmont. A face and neck treatment like the beauty rituals of Marie Antoinette.
The word ‘experience’ takes all its meaning at Le Grand Controle. At the end of the day, the doors of the Palace of Versailles close for the tourists but they open for the guests. Climb the 100 stairs and a tour guide takes you through the Grands Appartements, The Royal Opera, The Royal Chapel and The Hall of Mirrors. The most famous room of the palace and its 357 mirrors is your own for a moment. Splendor and sumptuousness, Versailles is a legend. Open your eyes, feel your senses and marvel at the inexpressible beauty in each corner without any tourists.
Every morning, guests have the chance to visit The Trianon, the estate of Marie Antoinette, The Grand Trianon of Louis XIV and its English garden privately. Guests have unlimited access to the Orangerie gardens whatever the time of the day. Take the golf cart, walk and discover the exceptional work of André Le Notre. The east-west perspective, the royal way, the Grand Canal, the groves -the little park within the woods – adorned with fountains, vases and statues where the kings would often go for walks, the fountains and their waterfalls, the flowerbeds and paths are enchanting and marvelous moments of the stay at the Grand Controle.
A stay at le Grand Controle is definitely a once in a lifetime experience that can’t be missed.