I had previously visited the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon but this time it was very different. We had as our guide Deborah Anthony from French Travel Boutique. Deborah is an Australian with a love of all things french. After studying french history in Paris, she started French Travel Boutique and now offers an extensive range of fabulous and different tours.
Listening to Deborah relate the history of life at court offered a rare insight and together we unravelled the history of the Louis XIV, XV and XVI and their wives and mistresses.
The Grand Trianon was built during the reign of Louis XIV as a retreat for the king and his family, a place to escape the pressures of court. Using stunning pink Languedoc marble, the two sections are connected by an beautiful open colonnade. The rooms were altered by Louis XV and again remodelled and renovated by Napoleon after the revolution. It is this renovation and subsequent changes made by Louis-Philippe that we see today.
From here we walked through the beautiful gardens to the Petit Trianon
Marie Antoinette, who loved to perform, had her own theatre built a short distance from the Petit Trianon. It’s a small theatre, in fact the stage is a lot bigger than the seating area but here she organized plays and recitals for those privelaged guests who had received a coveted invitation. Most of the decoration seen here is trompe l’oeil- the statues are pasteboard and the marble is painted wood.
For me, the most interesting part of the history is that of the Petit Trianon. It was originally built for Madame de Pompadour in 1761 who died before the interior was finished so it was given to Louis XV’s next mistress, Madame du Barry. When the king died, his successor, Louis XVI gave it to his wife, Marie Antoinette, as a private residence, which was unheard of for a French queen. Marie Antoinette made it her own personal playground.
The best is yet to come!
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