Romantic and dreamy anniversary photo session at Versailles
Romantic and dreamy anniversary photo session at Versailles. This was a photo session of my dreams. Dream location, dream clients. In a location I rarely visit.
Being a Parisian now full-time since 2014, and coming to France since I was 17, I’ve had the occasion to visit the royal palace of Versailles many times. It’s just a short 45-minute train ride from central Paris, but takes more time than that because the chateau and grounds are worth a full day’s visit for sure. The grounds are enormous and in addition to the main chateau, you can visit Marie Antoinette’s home, the Petit Trianon, and next door, the Grand Trianon, in addition to the hamlet Marie Antoinette had built. I rarely photograph at Versailles just because it’s a full days’ trip and there are usually a lot of tourists, which makes it difficult for great photography. However, I just could not pass up this opportunity.
I was contacted by Antony, a successful business owner in Long Island, New York. He and his wife Anabela were coming to Manchester, England on a short holiday with a detour to Paris (Antony is originally from England) a place Anabela had always dreamed of but had never visited. Anabela’s family is from Portugal, and the couple is well traveled, but this was to be a very special trip to Paris. Not just to see a bit of Paris while visiting family in England, but to fulfill a dream of Anabela’s, which was to see the magnificent Chateau of Versailles.
Not only that, they were celebrating a huge milestone in their relationship, 25 years of marriage! Antony told me that he pretty much fell in love with Anabela the moment they met. That he loved her strong sense of self, what an amazing mother she is to their two daughters, her talent, and of course, her beauty. He explained to me that he didn’t often show his emotions or how much Anabela meant to him, but that she meant more than anything and the 25 years they’ve shared together have been the most amazing years of his life. He spoke of his wife in the most loving and endearing way, and I wanted to help him fulfill her wishes and celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in Versailles. This trip to Versailles was to be a surprise for her and I was so excited to meet them.
Antony and Anabela visited Versailles in early December. By this time, many of the gardens are closed, a lot of the statues are covered to protect from frost, and the leaves are pretty much gone from the trees. We also had a very foggy day and it was cold, with a high of around 40F. That said, Versailles is still magnificent all year long and the lack of leaves on the trees just means you can see the buildings that much better. Plus, while Versailles attracts 10 million visitors a year, in winter there are way fewer and because the grounds are so large, you can have a bit of it to yourselves.
My favorite place at Versailles is called the Domaine de Marie Antoinette. This is a part of the Versailles property where Marie Antoinette built her own little house (Petit Trianon) along with a hamlet out back, which includes the cutest medieval looking little houses and even some animals, including bunnies and pigs. It’s a large area to walk around and I met Antony and Anabela for their Versailles anniversary photo session at Marie Antoinette’s.
From there, we stopped for gorgeous photos at the hamlet as well as the Temple of Love, which is a monument to Diana, the Goddess of Love. Being that we were celebrating 25 years of marriage, you’ll notice this was a very romantic photo session, lots of kissing going on. Anabela was indeed beautiful as Antony had said. He looked handsome in his blazer and Anabela looked incredibly chic and sophisticated. Their outfits were a perfect accompaniment to the scenery at Versailles.
During our time together, I learned a lot about this beautiful couple. You can see the deep love they have for each other and the passions they share. They’re passionate about their business, but they also adore their daughters and their family time. They love to travel, just like me, and Antony is also a photographer. We talked about some of the amazing photographs he’d taken over the years. It was just as fun to chat with this couple as it was to photograph them (and that was REALLY fun). I absolutely love getting to know the couples I work with as people, my clients are not just subjects to photograph, but beautiful people I want to get to know and connect with, because I think the best thing in life is to connect with others.
I also am very honored to have been chosen to capture the love between Antony and Anabela. It was downright cold at Versailles, but they were both cheerful and open to ideas. When I photograph couples at the Eiffel Tower I have a system in place, certain places I love going and tend to go frequently. But at a place like Versailles, while I have ideas already in my head (like the Temple of Love), I also like to be open and free to possibilities. After we visited Marie Antoinette’s estate, we went next door to the Grand Trianon and no matter how many times I go there, I’m astounded with the grounds. We’re not allowed to photograph inside the buildings, but the ground are magnificent unto their own.
We’d been out in the cold a number of hours, and now it was time for Antony and Anabela to visit the big chateau, but before they did, we did a few anniversary photos in front of the main chateau and then sadly, I had to say goodbye. What a wonderful day at Versailles for this 25th wedding anniversary photo session. An amazingly generous and kind couple plus the royal grounds of Versailles leads to happiness!
Thank you to Antony and Anabela, and wishing you a lifetime of bliss and happiness!
Or, are you thinking of planning a vow renewal in Paris? I love Paris vow renewals and photograph many couples in Paris for their vow renewal. You can see those packages here.