Sunday, August 15, 2010

The long and winding road

Posted by PicasaAfter leaving Versailles, Micah and I got a little turned around trying to find the Trianon Palace. Had we known we could, and should, buy tickets for the Versailles gardens, so we could walk through them, directly to the Trianon, we would have. But, no, we had to end up walking all over the town of Versailles, for hours, searching. It was worth it, but next time, we'll know better. And, next time, we're going to go to the Royal Stables across the street from Versailles. They even have riding exhibitions, featuring horses like those of the court. Next time. Definitely.
Marie Antoinette, like many of the wealthy and privileged, also built a hamlet on the property. The way I've accidently laid out the blog, the pictures show the outside of the Trianon, then the hamlet, then the inside of the Trianon. Sorry about that.

Marie Antoinette - Trianon Gardens

Posted by PicasaIn front of the Temple of Love

At long last! The Petit Trianon was in sight!

Posted by PicasaThe Petit Trianon was built by Marie Antoinette's father-in-law, Louis XV, as a private retreat for he and his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour. It was here, in 1774, that he felt the first symptoms of the smallpox that killed him. Some few months later, Louis XVI presented his wife, the newly crowned, twenty year old Queen of France, with a key decorated with 531 diamonds. He said something really sweet when he gave it to her, but I've got to remember where I read the quote. Marie Antoinette and her friends spent more and more time at Trianon which caused more and more jealousy and bitterness among the uninvited courtiers. This, in turn, eventually played a part in their desire to undermine and bad mouth the Queen, laying the groundwork for the Revolution. The populace was hungry and ripe for a fight anyway and it's way more complicated that I'm making it, but it was a factor. Fifteen years later, Marie Antoinette was at the Trianon when she received word that the women (and men disguised as women) were marching toward Versailles, weapons in hand. She rushed back to Versailles, then was escorted by the crowd to Paris, and never saw the Versailles or Trianon palace again.


Posted by PicasaThe clothing was all about comfort. Not that I'm usually dressed any better. I'm pretty sure there was a barely subliminal reason for my wearing all white on the day we visited the two homes of Marie Antoinette.

Looking out the front windows

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View of the Trianon from the Hamlet

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Micah in front of the Temple of Love

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Micah and the roses

Posted by PicasaI want to find out which rose species are in the gardens, so I can plant a Trianon garden of my own!

French Pavilion

Posted by PicasaThe site of balls and parties.

One of the smaller fountains

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Flowers everywhere

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Inside the Temple of Love

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Precious traveling companion

Posted by PicasaMy little Princess Micah.

Illuminated by thousands of torches

Posted by PicasaThis grotto, the Belvedere behind it and the Temple of Love were lit by fires, hidden lanterns, and torches for special nighttime parties. Some such occasions were visits from Marie Antoinette's brother, Joseph II, and another from the King of Sweden. On Oct. 5, 1789, Marie Antoinette was sitting in the grotto (probably worrying) when a page rushed to her and urged her to return to Versailles because a huge crowd of mostly women were marching toward the Palace to confront the King and Queen. She never went back to her paradise again.

An opportunity to rest her little feet

Posted by PicasaMicah Bug

The Queen's Cottage

Posted by PicasaBehind the rustic facade of the buildings was the opulence to which the court was accustomed. Marble, beautiful furniture, sculpted fireplaces, oak paneling - all the comforts of home. The Queen's Cottage held a billiard room, dining room, backgammon room, nobleman's antechamber as well as the necessary linen and silver storage rooms and a room for the footmen.

Marlborough Tower

Posted by Picasa"In the midst of this little Hamlet, a high tower, known as the Marlborough Tower, dominated its surroundings. Its exterior staircases, covered in wall flowers and geraniums, had an elevated parterre. One of the cottages contained the dairy, and the cream, stored in superposed porcelain vases on white marble tables, was chilled by a stream running through the room. Close by was the real farm where the Queen kept a magnificent herd of Swiss cows that grazed on the surrounding meadows." Felix, Comte de France d'Hezecques, memoirs of a page at the court of Louis XVI. The tower was sometimes called The Fish Tower because it contained a fishery and sometimes people stood at the top and fished from it.
Posted by PicasaAmong the buildings is a former pigeon loft, a Boudoir, a ballroom.
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Some people have all the luck

Posted by PicasaI want a job picking vegetables in Le Hameau.
Empress Marie-Theresa, Marie Antoinette's Austrian mother, sent her this painting which hangs just inside the doors of the Trianon Palace. In her childhood home, she had been called Antoine.

Guest Drawing Room

Posted by PicasaI haven't managed to listen to much of my CD that was billed as Marie Antoinette's favorite music. So, there is one thing related to her that I don't like. I'm almost relieved, because sometimes I feel a little crazy.

The Queen's Trianon Bedchamber

Posted by Picasa Dainty and unpretentious, by royal standards.

Trianon Chapel

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Trianon game room

This isn't an original billiards (?) table, but the moment I saw it I had a vision of Count Axel Fersen gracefully lounging nearby. He and Marie Antoinette's other friends must've spent many carefree days in this room.

Sitting Room

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