Archive for March 20th, 2012

March 20, 2012

Stories of Versailles, the Grand 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 Grand Trianon today. This is  a wonderful huge property seen best from the side of the ave de Versailles, by the Porte Saint Antoine. Taking Bus 19 from ave St Cloud to stop Arboretum, and walking about 200 meters to the porte.

It was built by architect of the king Jules Hardouin Mansart in 1687  on the site of the old  « Trianon de Porcelaine », that  Louis XIV had done in 1670 to escape the crowds of the court, and to house his loves with  Mme de Montespan. The Grand Trianon is without a doubt the complex of buildings the most refine in the entire domaine de Versailles. More of it at the  official site of the Chateau de Versailles, http://en.chateauversailles.fr/grand-trianon

The peace corner of the king was at the Salon de Musique du roi, where singers and musician played for the king ,to the right at the cheminey you have the stairs that they took to enter quietly…. The Grand Trianon was open during the day but only the king and its close party had the right to dine or sleep in it. The king spent most of his time almost a third here at the Grand Trianon, prefering it over the castle.  You know you are in it when you see the pool or billiard table… We go outside to the Allée des HàHà to the extreme west of the Grand Trianon. This park covers 23 hectares separated from the castle, he ordered garden designs along the way in vast green spaces, such as salle d’Atalante, des Portiques,des Vases,des Boules d’Ormes ,de Diane, de Mercure,des Empereurs, des Six Figures where he can go on horseback. He ask to be installed jumping obtacles such as the name of HàHà.

The water plays an important part in all the property and no exception at the Grand Trianon, when you see the Buffet d’Eau done in 1703.  A huge fountain topped by figures of Poseidon, and Amphitrite, a wonderful fountain by the gardens.  You mix and go by going inside to the Galerie des Cotelle, at the north wing of the Grand Trianon. In 1688 the king ask for 25 drawings of 1,39 meters by 2,and shown at this gallery. Done by the Jean Cotelle, the young. They show forest or gardens that today are no longer, but were, such as the Bosquet dy Labyrinthe,bosquet de l’Arc de Triomphe, Bosquet du Théatre d’Eau, and the bosquet du Marais de Mme de Montespan. They were re installed later by Louis-Philippe and do not are shown inside the castle until 1913, in memory of François Francine, a great gardener influential in Versailles the same as André Le Notre.

We come out again, in my game, to the fountain of L’Enfant au Carquois at the garden,  by the old garden of the king on the north wing, a fountain with shells,and the only of its kind in France at the théatre d’eau one of the most famous gardens of Louis XIV done by Andre Le Notre between 1671-1673.  You can see the other two element of this triology at the National Gallery of Washington DC USA. We go back in to the chambre de l’empereur or emperor’s bedroom, at the petit appartement of the Emperor at the north wing. This was the personal bedroom of Napoleon Ier, he has five rooms such as the antiroom,personal office,bathroom,bedroom,and breakfast room. They were decorated and setup between 1805-1807 by the best artists of the time. Even after the divorce with Josephine the colors and decorations stay.  Napoleon could see the castle from the Grand Trianon and only the abdication in 1814 stops receiving the entire imperial family at the Grand Trianon. The emperor’s office finish in 1812 is the only room completely decorated to his tastes.

Inside by the middle wing, you will find the Boudoir de l’Emperatrice Marie-Louise. In 1805 the emperor has done it for his mother but never use it, and in turn was given to his new wife in 1810. Marie Louise is the daughter of the niece of Marie Antoinette!  We stay inside to go to the Vasque aux malachites, done on 1807-1809 at the salon des malachites in the north wing. This is a huge table cover given as a present by the tzar Alexander 1er to Napoleon Ier for the alliance of Tilsit in 1802.  A huge gift as the malachite is a precious stone only found in Siberia!

We continue our walk inside to see the bed or lit de la chambre de l’imperatrice, done in 1809, at the south wing. The bed was ordered b Napoleon Ier before been use by Louis XVIII in 1824;  It was Louis Philippe who brought back to the castle to show the legimate claim by the Orleans side of the royals to the claim of the kingdom of France. Worth mentioning that he voted for the execution of Louix XVI being a Bourbon in 1793, and his wife Marie-Amelie de Bourbon-Sicily was the niece of Louis XVI!!! cousin of Louis XVII and of the Emperatrice Marie Louise. He Louis Philippe took the throne after replacing Louis XIX that ruled for only 20 minutes ! It was here in the Grand Trianon in 1830 that he took over after firing all the ministers. In his favor, in 1837 he declare the Domaine de Versailles for the Glory of France, a museum!!! so saving it from demolition and allow us to see the beauty we see today.

We move a more recent historical room, Bureau du Général de Gaulle, or his office. apartements of the Presidency in the wing of the Trianon under woods, or sous bois. In the extreme north of the Grand Trianon, you find this room ,redone since 1962 ,and not well known to the public. It was redone after Napoleon III left it; and given to the chief of State. He was used for receptions and welcome of dignataries visiting France. This events were terminated by Jacques Chirac that from March 29 1999 returned it to the castle to show as museum piece to the public.

Enjoy the building, many time walks around it and play catch up with my kids yes you can nice lawns abound to the sides of it. Cheers

 

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