The Petit Trianon of Versailles!

Another jewel and our favorite when we lived in Versailles for about 10 years.  We avoided the crowds coming from the Parly II shopping center in Le Chesnay down ave de Versailles to the porte Saint Antoine and into the Petit Trianon. We used it as our garden! jogging, playing, just walking enjoying the history that was done there and having a hot chocolate at Angelina terrace by it.

I like to tell you more details of the Petit Trianon of  Versailles , again a lot more than the palace/museum I said.

The Petit Trianon is a castle located in the Domaine de Versailles. Built by the architect of King Louis XV, Ange-Jacques Gabriel, from 1762 to 1768, it is considered a masterpiece of neoclassicism, combining the most modern taste and integration with the surrounding nature.  Built for Madame de Pompadour who died before seeing it completed, it was inaugurated by Madame du Barry in 1768, almost 20 years after the first installations of the new garden of the king. For, although it is the most imposing of the domain of Versailles , it is not the first building, but rather lies in the continuity of a project that spans four decades. It was offered by king Louis XVI, as soon as he came, to his young wife Marie-Antoinette who gave her imprint, associating for ever, in the imagination of the public, the castle and the Queen.


Of a square plane of 23 meters each side, the building owes its peculiarity to its four facades comprising 5 high windows punctuated by columns or pilasters of the Corinthian order. Due to the slope of the terrain, the ground floor of the castle is only accessible by the sides facing the south and the east; This entrance was  reserved for the service. The noble floor, where one enters through the grand staircase of a vestibule designed as an inner courtyard, includes the reception rooms and the Queen’s apartment.  A three-room mezzanine is home to Marie-Antoinette’s library. In  the attic, several dwellings formerly attributed to king Louis XV and his suite now welcome the evocation of the Ladies of Trianon, these women who impregnated these walls with their brand. It remains the Castle of the Ladies, benefiting in the 19C from the infatuation of the sovereigns Marie-Louise, Marie-Amélie and Eugénie. The restoration campaigns carried out at the beginning of the 21C gave it the allure that he had the day when Marie Antoinette left it for the last time, as if time had stopped.

The castle was only completed in 1768, four years after Madame de Pompadour’s death. It is therefore attributed to Madame de Berry, new favorite of king Louis XV. If the Grand Trianon remains the place of the feasts and receptions, the Petit Trianon quickly becomes a place of intimacy.  Madame de Berry who makes her room, while the king settles in the attic. She was the first to remain regularly at the Petit Trianon, far from the hostility dedicated the daughters of the King and the Dauphins. It is in this castle that the king, who came in the company of his favorite in 1774, feels the first symptoms of the disease that carries him two weeks later to death. The Royal mistress, who has already left Versailles five days earlier, no longer appears, having received from the new king an order, transmitted by the Duke de la Villière, asking for her to go to the convent of Pont-aux-Dames.

For the first time, a queen of France became the owner of a château; in June 1774, Marie-Antoinette received as a gift from her husband, the new king Louis XVI, the estate of Petit Trianon. The Queen takes the habit of staying at “her” castle, the King only coming to dinner as a guest. The regulations are made “in the name of the Queen”, not the king; Marie-Antoinette behaves like a simple squire, breaking with the customs. She received her intimates for play, sing, dance, make music, walk in the  gardens, etc. The men are invited but no one other than the king sleeps at the castle. The women are the mistresses of the place and many of them are housed in the Queen’s Suite such as  Madame Élisabeth (sister of King Louis XVI) , who watches over Mrs. Royale, the Countess of Polignac, but also the princess of Chimay, the Countess of Ossun or Madame Campan, the Chamber maid. In ten years, she stayed 116 days in the Petit Trianon.

At the auction of 1793 and even temporarily transformed into a hotel, it is made available to Pauline Borghese, the favorite sister of Emperor Napoleon I, respecting the tradition of this residence which remains the “Castle of the Ladies.  The Empress Josephine, who will never lived at the Petit Trianon, participates in the choice of fabrics and furniture, which one wants richer and more elegant than under the former Régime. The Princess, who enjoyed the castle, stays there almost two months in June and July 1805, then one last time in December 1809, when Napoleon returned to Trianon to prepare the estate for his new wife.

The Empress, the Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, was the grand-niece of Queen Marie Antoinette ,guillotined by the French revolution. Her marriage to Napoleon, which he was taught to hate, is also a consequence of the “Treaty of Schœnbrunn”, the name of the palace that saw Marie Antoinette grow up. From the Grand, she escapes to the Petit, which reminds her of the castle of Laxenburg of her childhood and where she begins to leave her imprint. She lodges in her great-aunt’s room, entirely redecorated with extravagance, under a golden silk dome that masks the original woodwork. It resumes the lifestyle of before 1789: a set of rings is restored in the vicinity of the Château, it rehabilitates the small theater and gives back sumptuous feasts in the gardens.

With the monarchy of July the castle of the Petit Trianon is attributed to the young couple then called to succeed to Louis-Philippe, the Duke and the Duchess of Orléans. The Duchess, who continues to stayed in Trianon after the accidental death of her husband, however no longer has the taste of this castle that she finds sad, considering herself in exile. The place falls into oblivion after the departure of this last princess.

The Empress Eugénie de Montijo (wife of Napoléon III) experiences for Marie Antoinette a close sympathy to the devotion and worships her, so much so that one finds this need for identification, pushed to the syncretism, in paintings a staging in a Evocation of the gardens of the Petit Trianon or in an 18C style dress of the Queen. Following the second empire , the Petit Trianon becomes a museum dedicated to the 18C and to Marie-Antoinette, the Queen whose myth begins to be imposed little by little. For more than a century, the castle was the object of little attention, despite the efforts of curators, architects and historians to make the presentation more in line with what the archives reveals. But the revival of Marie-Antoinette’s popularity from the end of the 20C, accompanied by the release of cinematographic successes that are devoted to her and which participate in the propagation of the myth, once again brought light to this small country castle of a queen from France to tour adulated and booed , who, without her being aware of it, contributed to her tragic fate .

A bit on the description of the Petit Trianon.

The ground floor (1st US), which is called the underground in the 18C is accessed by the vestibule opening by two doors on a modest porch of the entrance courtyard, south of the castle. On the left is the room of the guards and on the right, the billiard room, the rest being reserved for the use of the services.  From the vestibule, you can access the castle’s Staircase of honor, turning two straight flights, built in limestone of Saint-Leu and adorned with a ramp in gilded bronze and forged iron. Located in retreat under the flights of the staircase, a door gives access to the warming room covered with a low vault. On the half-step of the staircase at the seventh step, another small door, on the left, allows to join the old Chinese gallery of the ring game by a long corridor created in 1781, the most important transformation brought by Marie-Antoinette to the Petit Trianon, and located under the terrace facing the French garden.  Room of the gardes or body guards until the middle of the 19C. Billiard room in this corner room of the ground floor stands originally the billiards of king Louis XV, disappeared. The original billiards have not been found, a replica was done in 2005.


Main Réchauffoir or Warming room is on the ground floor assigned to the service in the central kitchen, or, accessible from the vestibule by an intermediate gallery. Two small reserves of office are attached to it. Starting from 1770, it becomes more exactly a warming room, especially intended to perfect the preparation of the dishes that are made in the common.  The Fruiterie room had a mechanism by which one or more tables can be moved by ascending or descending, thus replacing a piece of parquet of the same size in the form of rose. This device provides the double advantage of surprise the guests and preserve the intimacy of the conversations by eliminating the presence of the servants and the indiscrets glances . It has been installed from multimedia kiosks that offer visitors information on the Petit Trianon, in particular its construction and its recent restoration, as well as a three-dimensional modeling of the first floor.

Other rooms are the Silver room with an ice mechanism room . The first floor antiroom ,large dining room ,small dining room ,companion lounge, Boudoir, Queen’s room , and toilet. The mezzanine of the Queen’s Apartments restored in 2008 ,and for the first time accessible to conference visits, is home to its library of Marie-Antoinette as well as the rooms of the Ladies of Honor and room of the first maid ,bathroom ,attic.  The attic floor initially houses the apartment of king Louis XV, which is accessed by two staircases located at the south-east and north-east angles. It consists of a room, an antichamber and a corner cabinet. The rest of the floor is reserved for the “Lords” or, more precisely, the rooms overlooking the gardens are occupied by the notable people of the King’s Suite; Louis XVI’s small salon of Madame Royale , small salon of Madame Elisabeth , toilet of Marie-Louise,  room of Marie-Louise, Boudoir of the Duchess of Orleans and the corner of the Empress Eugénie.

Versailles Versailles

There you go another wonderful piece of art in the domain of Versailles, go back into the gardens and enjoy kingly living for a while.  Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Château de Versailles site on the Petit Trianon:

The city of Versailles tourism on the Petit Trianon:

Enjoy Versailles is Royal, magnificent, gorgeous, historical, architectural wonders and the history of France and the world.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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