Archive for March 15th, 2012

March 15, 2012

Stories of Versailles, the Petit Trianon

I am trying to find  photos, maybe not enough, its not easy to take photos of the place you have lived for 8 years. My house is sold, closing final will be in the next couple of months, and nostalgia sets in. It has been great, wonderful , fulfilling experience in the royal city,necessaries of life,and job makes one move ,sometimes. In the next few days,week maybe, I will write about Versailles from the heart. I will always have Versailles, my city. Come along and maybe you will feel it too.

Following on this series , I will take on the Petit Trianon today. This believe or not is my favorite place there. I used to wondered all over help out with work, and had my kids grew up in the garden just behind the building. One of the nice architectural things here is the Salon Circulaire or circular room decorated with objects of fishing,hunting,and gardening. It was the favorite room of Louis XV coming here to rest on his daily routine. It was completed in 1750 base on the country house of Madame de Pompadour, set up so folks can play on the allée de la Fontaine with ducks.

You move outside to the Jardin des Quatre Saisons,  done as a French garden between 1750-1752.  Trace as a cross the building showcase on each corner a season of the year. You notice the road or alley taking you from the Grand Trianon to the Petit Trianon, ,allée des Evergreen that divides the garden of Louis XIV to that of Louis XV.

You will see around here the Maison de Richard or also known as the Pavillon de Jussieu.  It was the house of the gardener Claude Richard and his son Antoine,when the father comes here in 1754 on the wishes of Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour. Thanks to the grains of plants sent by Duke de Noailles, from many corners of the world, the botanical richness of the place were the most extraordinary collection of botanical work in Europe; more than 4000 exotic varieties florish here. Here for the first time we saw pineapples grow in France!  Marie Antoinette saves this treasure and asked Richard to transfer the plants to the Kings garden in Paris (the actual jardin des plantes). The Richards stayed close to the Queen, and Claude Richard past away in 1784 at the Petit Trianon, and Antoine lives past the Revolution and help save the gardens of Versailles from the auction block. A true hero ,and one my son is studying this profession.

You come to see the great dining room or Grande Salle à manger, here was a tasting room for fruits and vegetables of Louis XV! You see mythical figures such as Borée and Orythie, Flore, and Zéphyr.In 1770 Louis XV asked to do three flying tables that will come up in the center of the room all ready for a setting using hydraulic systems and pulleys. Marie Antoinette did not like this so she discontinued its use.

The Petit Trianon was covered with beautiful tapestries in its furniture, the furniture in Marie Antoinette room. In 1774 Louis XVI give this bedroom of the Queen full of flowery insignias, call the Chambre de la Reine mobilier aux épis.  Perfumes and tapestries adorn this wonderful room, and still is nicely decorated, and a perfum born at the Petit Trianon for her ,made from petals of flowers of orange, mix with lavander, bergamote and cedar are still seem at the museum of perfums in Versailles, Osmothéque. Next on the Boudoir de la Reine, was the room where Louis had his coffee,and Marie Antoinette did a room to read and see from there her English garden.  It came with moving mirrors,rich woods, etc, the mechanism for the movable mirrors can still be seen today at ground floor.  The rich woods last were done in 1787.

In 1738 Louis XV ordered done a marble figure all L’Amour,and put it in the center of the Salon d’Hercule in the castle, but in 1749 some of his daughters refuse to have the nudity in the castle and the king decides to put it in the Orangerie of the castle of Choisy. A copy done by Madame de Pompadour is done for her at the castle of Bellevue. Later, Marie Antoinette decides to take the original to the Louvre ,and ask for a new copy. To give value to the statue she decides to put it in the center of a cupola with a tholos of marbre with twelve corinthians columns in 1778. You still see today surrounded by a small stream. Marvel of the four Sphynx couples done in the park where Marie Antoinette like to listen to music ,there are by the Belvedere call Sphinges du Belvédére or Pavillon du Rocher.

We go over to the entrance to the Grotte de Marie Antoinette, or cave. On October 5 1789 she receives the letter telling her the Parisiens march towards Versailles. It is near the Belvédére, and it is an artificial cave . The idea for her to do this cave came from Jean-Jacques Rousseau writings in Les Révéries du promeneur solitaire(1776-1778).

Moving back inside the Petit Trianon, we see the nice Chambre de Madame Campan, or bedroom of mrs campan, 1st floor and on top of the bedroom of Marie Antoinette. Here is the rooms of the two most personal persons of her entourage.The lady of Honor, and the first lady of the bedroom. In 1786 Madame Campan replaces the previous lady of the bedroom, and became famous by her memoirs. She is the reading tacher of the daughters of Louis XV. By 1770 she was already the second woman in charge. During all this period she knows all the intimite moves of Marie Antoinette and thanks to her memoirs published in 1822 that the history now looks more gentle towards Marie Antoinette.  Madame Campan was the founder of a girls school in St Germain en Laye iin 1794; She was in charge of the Imperial house of Ecouén for the daughters of the officers of the legion of honneur. She ended up very poor having her schools closed by Louis XVIII that never forgave her affinity towards the Napoleonic regimes.

At the entrance to the pergola in the jardin du Petit Trianon, you see a huge round lawn , he reminds us of the game of Chinese rings that Marie Antoinette ordered in 1776. It was a huge stable with an umbrella shape turning on a pivot. The first game took place on 1777, where the dames were dressed as merchants and the queen as beggar! The Queen made the list of invitees, and they came using a false name, this created an aura of wild parties which were not. In French you will find info on this under the Emplacement du jeu de bague chinois.

An adjacent building not far from the Petit Trianon , almost making it the same complex is the Théatre de la Reine, you see the two female figures that mark the entrance to the theater, they are Melpoméne, lady of singing, harmony and tragedy and Thalie, lady of comedy. It is here that the Queen invited the society high class to play with her. She played herself and many times in front of her domestic entourage! Her last role was in September 15, 1785 as Rosine in the play the Barber of Seville by Beaumarchais in the present of the author himself!. wonderful place indeed.

Wonderful Versailles. And you can always grab a hot chocolate or coffee and croissants at the Angelina branch here,indoor cafe and wonderful terrace in summer. Always my stop, hoping yours too.

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