This is not your usual experience of Versailles. It’s conceived down to the smallest detail. At the Airelles Château De Versailles- Le Grand Contrôle, you don’t just come to sleep in a luxury hotel, you are offered a program marked by a series of memorable moments.
The journey starts with tea time in the “Salon Rouge“, in a setting decorated with gilding, thick curtains, and furniture from the purest 18th-century tradition. This “afternoon tea” recalls of Marie-Antoinette’s tradition. Hot drinks are also offered, including the Queen’s favorite chocolate flavored with orange blossom, and a generous assortment of fine pastries signed by Alain Ducasse. The waiters are also dressed in robes, to recall the king’s court.
In the afternoon, when the Château is emptied of tourists, starts your visit. You are escorted in comfortable electric shuttles that pass through checkpoints and paved courtyards to the entrance of the buildings. Who has never dreamed of discovering the sumptuous rooms of the palace built by Louis XIV in a confidential manner? Entering the deserted Hall of Mirrors, following the secret passages in the company of a guide, accessing the King’s and Queen’s apartments.
Once back at the hotel begins the exquisite dining experience Louis XIV style. Inspired by the feasts of kings, the sumptuous halls house the hotel’s Michelin-starred table, which earned its first Michelin star on March 22, 2022. Masterfully led by Stéphane Duchiron, who once did great things at the Parisian restaurant Les Fougères, the team puts on a real show with a unique five-course menu.
The score proves to be royal, both in terms of the plate (lobster in jelly, egg and caviar, piece of sole, beef declension, desserts…) and in terms of the show that one experiences, surprised and amused.
The tasting is followed by grandiloquent announcements (“To drink for the King“, “the King’s statement”…) and anecdotes on the culinary preferences of the sovereigns. One is inevitably caught up in the game of an evening out of time. Two food/wine pairings are proposed to the label lovers. The 4 glasses of Champagne Dom Pérignon, Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, Château Léoville Las Cases 2005, Yquem 1997.
The room, one of just 14 at this ultra-exclusive haven, exemplifies what Airelles, using the skills of architect and interior designer Christophe Tollemer and palace historians, has achieved with the hotel as a whole – to faithfully reproduce the lavish interiors of Le Grand Controle as it would have been in 1788, the year of its last inventory.
The second tour of Versailles is reserved for hotel residents and follows in the morning around 9:30 am. The Petit or Grand Trianon, depending on the day, opens up for a tour that is as exclusive and impressive as ever, during which one inevitably realizes what a unique heritage this castle is, and what a singular experience the Grand Contrôle is.
Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle 12 Rue de l’Indépendance Américaine, 78000 Versailles