Archive for January 5th, 2021

January 5, 2021

Presqu’île de Gavres!!

I am updating this post because I like it and need to tell you all about it. The Presqu’île de Gâvres is a peninsula just south of me and as it was looking for new places to see in my dept 56 Morbihan saw it on a google map!! So decided to take a look and it was marvelous we love it. Therefore, here is my new take on the Gâvres peninsula or Presqu’île de Gâvres!!

On a nice Sunday morning I am back at you to tell you about my latest escapes! Well as everything in beautiful Morbihan , each step out is another find another wonderful beautiful place to dwell on for at least a weekend. We do not stop in finding new places and this one was very close to home! It always amazes me that even less than an hour from our house we still go to places for the first time! This is the case yesterday to the presqu‘île de Gâvres!!

It was as easy as looking at a map and realising we have even been close to it but never entered the peninsula. Going easy on the D768 then getting on the D33 crossing the N165 and connecting on the D158 at Nostang to pass by Plouhinec and continue to the tip of the peninsula in what now was nice ,in Summer should be awesome! Only exactly 41 minutes from home!! fyi it was awesome in Summer!

The Gâvres is a peninsula opposite Port-Louis, at the entrance to the Lorient Harbor and east of the island of Groix. Originally, the rocky end was an island that was joined to the mainland by a tombolo (Dune cordon). This is parallel to the mainland and forms at high tide the small sea of Gâvres, a lagoon extending over 350 hectares, traditional fishing area on foot of clams and shells. This body of water is ideal for windsurfing or kitesurfing and amateur boat fishing. The cordon dunes is the largest in Bretagne and stretches from Pointe de Gâvres to the fort of Penthièvre, in the town of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon along the  côte sauvage (see post)  or wild coast south of me.  In Breton, the name of the town is Gavr. The toponym comes from the Breton gavr which means goat. The island would be the Goat Island or the tip of the goat.

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Its history is linked to the craft of coastal and offshore fishing with a predilection for sardines, before becoming a strategic place in the 17C and 18C, parallel to the development of the ports of Lorient and Port-Louis. (see posts).  It has a military presence and many areas are off limits, read the signs.

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Some of the things to see here are!

Mounds or Tumulus of Gâvres, these mounds, which has served as a playground for many generations of Gâvrais is a tomb-covered dolmen. It is now condemned, a victim of degradation.

Church of St. Gildas, the first stone of the church was laid on July 21, 1887 and the work was completed in October 1988 ; it is Roman style in the shape of a Latin cross and partly built from granite.

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Fort de Porh-Puns, a first fortification, a simple battery is built on the site in 1695 on the initiative of the Marquis of Lavardin. Equipped with 10 cannons and 2 mortars. this strategic location is chosen to protect the citadel of Port Louis and the Bay of Lorient a fort replaces the original battery in the course of the 18C with a corps of guard, capable of accommodating 60 soldiers there In 1846. The Fort enjoys a restoration campaign in the 1870’s, and later the fort is disarmed after WWII. You can walk around it but cannot go in.

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Fountain of St Gildas. There was a well dating from the 11C. The fishermen (the first port of Gâvres was in this cove) and also the inhabitants came to draw water from it. At the time of the company of India, the ships were moored in the bay, and sailors were coming in canoe to get supply of water. .In the 17C, the well was covered with stone and became the Fountain Saint-Gildas, with 17 steps.down. In a small niche there is a statuette of Saint Gildas. The well has been clogged, only a few steps can be seen but the vaulted architecture is very well visible..Very near the Fort de Porh Puns

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Numerous bunkers dating from WWII are still present, with armoured doors, cannon, mortar and machine gun locations. These blockhouses kept the entrance to the Bay of Lorient, which was during WWII an important base for the submarines of the Kriegsmarine (nazi navy).

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And of course, the beaches such as the Grand Plage, that links up with the Plage de Linés in Plouhinec! My favorite beach site plages tv has it in English on the Grand Plage here: https://en.plages.tv/detail/grande-plage-gavres-56680

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The Morbihan dept 56 tourist office has info on another beach ,plage de Porh Puns, but smaller and I rather go to the Grand Plage . Webpage: https://www.morbihan.com/gavres/plage-de-porh-puns/tabid/12564/offreid/3314a26d-7a9f-408e-9ffa-3f72db39a40c

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Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and ask me if you like are

The city of Gâvres in French on its heritage: https://www.gavres.fr/culture-et-patrimoine/

The Gâvres peninsula Cape Lorient on Gâvres lots of info in French: http://gavres.caplorient.fr/Histoire-de-la-Commune.9137.0.html

The Lorient-South Brittany tourist board on Gâvres in French: https://www.lorientbretagnesudtourisme.fr/fr/immanquables/gavres/

And in all the litoral coastal harbor with the fishing boats, and the quaint laid back ambiance makes it for a relaxing weekend especially in Summer months. The beaches are long and nice, and plenty of seafood!  Hope you enjoy the post! To find  sublime pleasure in the Gâvres one of the jewels of the beautiful Morbihan, lovely Bretagne,and my belle France!!!

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

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January 5, 2021

Etel and the ria, great Morbihan!

Ok so now I am updating one nice area near me which we enjoy going especially in warmer weather. This is coastal wonderful Morbihan on a ria, that is a river coming in touch with the Atlantic ocean at pretty Etel! Hope you enjoy it as I do

This visit was on Ascension Day August 15 (2018) in France. So even if my Summer vacation don’t start until tomorrow, I have today’s off lol! Now so much to do out and in house, that I could not come up with something to do , amazing! So I decided to take my boys and have a car ride by the coast. Always sublime my Morbihan breton coast!!

So a whims of air we went to Etel, passing by Ploemel ,Belz , and Saint Cado briefly by car. This is in glorious department 56, Morbihan.  The town is near me of course; as all the coast is… Étel is only 18 km from Auray , 30 km from Lorient and Vannes. Also, 22 km from my home!

A bit of history I like

In the middle of the 19C, Etel fought for its independence from neighboring Erdeven. Etel in Breton language is An Intel. The former territory was called Saint Pierre d’Erdeven ; back in August of 1848, the locals heavily into the sardine business petition to have their own town; finally in 1850, Etel is raised to a town , independent of Erdeven. This is a heavily fish town, back in the 17C with more than 10 boats doing this catch in the area; it had about 12 conservation firms canning goods between 1849 and 1910. However, crises of the Sardine in the end of the 19C and beginning of the 20C made it change its fishing to Tuna. This fishing increase tremendously from 40 boats in 1910 to 220 in 1934, claiming the town as the first in France. The end of WWII put an end to this fishing and the town reorganized into motor boats and boat repairs.

And there is fun for sea lovers in me, for the pleasure boat lover or owner, the harbor marina (Le Port) here is heavens and so picturesque, here are some of the latest ! Talking about the the Harbor well here you can get cruising to the river up stream and into the islands outside on the Atlantic with the company Navix.  webpage: https://www.navix.fr/bateau/la-ria-d-etel/

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The harbor info webpage on Etel: https://www.passeportescales.com/fr/port-etel

There is a quaint nice water taxi boat between the harbor of Etel and that of Le Magouer across the ria.  Its sort of the little train on water ::)

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Two things to know here and beautiful to see and ride on it with pro help are the river of Étel or Ria Étel (in Breton Stêr an Intel) is a small coastal river of the Morbihan in region of Brittany, which flows in an Aber (or ria), meaning that its deep valley is invaded by the sea at rising tide. It is a small bay dotted with islets, the mouth of which lies in the Atlantic Ocean at the level of the town of Étel and that of Plouhinec. At the mouth of the Ria is the bar of Étel, a shoal of underwater sand formed by the crossing of the currents and whose position is variable. This bar makes navigation difficult. A semaphore is built in 1960, on the Plouhinec side, in order to safely guide sailors towards the entrance to the ria.

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There is a nice museum of Tuna fishing  (see post musée des thoniers) that better call ahead to make sure is open, a great fish market, and a wonderful SNSM volunteer lifeguard station that I am involved with especially those in Honfleur Normandy.

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While we were there today ,there was a antique car collectors meeting and voilà so my wonderful Mustang (Ford) my brand of car and my favorite all time car as used to own one in Florida.  There was a nice Harley-Davidson motocycle and a super Auburn Super Charged !! Also, some fund raising going on inside the old covered market now use for events as well.

The town of Etel, was grand and even saw a buddy from work that lives there! The town is very picturesque with a beautiful marina and nice quaint restos . One resto brought a bit of tears as it was frequent there with my dear late wife Martine and we love it, the Le Cha qui Pêche at the harbor area or Le Port.

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Another nice afternoon in my gorgeous Morbihan, and now ready to tackle the job in the house tomorrow and later in the evening see the quarter final match of Spain vs Nigeria for the women U20 World Cup 2018 been played in nearby Concarneau!Aupa España ::) And we were there!!! and Spain won!!!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Bay of Quiberon tourist board on Etel: https://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/etel

The dept 56 Morbihan tourist board on Etel: http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/home/discover/morbihan/essential-things-to-see-and-do/ria-d-etel-saint-cado

Hope you enjoy your Summer wherever you are.  Do enjoy a visit to the ria of Etel in my sublime Morbihan.

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

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January 5, 2021

Gare Saint Lazare, Paris!

Now excuse me but I have to update and revise this one. For several years it was my job entry point to Paris from my beloved rive droite train station in Versailles. The neighborhood became mine for ins and outs, lunch, sightseeing, and shopping. I have seen the transformation from an old train station to a modern one with a great shopping gallery. Let me tell you more of the Gare Saint Lazare of Paris!

It was a very nice and cool at 20C or about 71F day when writing this post initially and having with me a nice Porto red . Life goes on , always with memories never forgotten, but I need to move on for the rest.  I like to tell you today about the Gare Saint Lazare train station so dear to me. Not your fan of public transport if you followed me but sometimes for one reason or another they are needed.  Great memories even if some late arrivals due to technical problems on the tracks lol!  Upon arriving at Saint Lazare I walked 18 minutes to the office same time as taking the public transport but you see Paris, glorious grand department stores, Madeleine, rue Saint Honoré, passing by rue de Rivoli , like I said once in Paris, walk. If this is not possible, than use the Bus, see Paris above ground, much better ::)

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Anyway this is my rendition on history of this wonderful old train station. 

The Gare Saint-Lazare,  is one of the seven main stations of the SNCF network in Paris. Located in the 8éme arrondissement or neighborhood/quartier of Europe, it is one of the former heads of line of the West network. First station built in Île-de-France region from 1837 and affected mainly since by the commuter traffic, it is the second station of Paris and France by its traffic and the second in Europe, last I look up. The station is 32 meters above sea level, in a very dense urban environment. It serve most of Normandy and the western suburbs of Paris, thanks to a wide range of lines extending from Pontoise and Ermont to the north , in Versailles to the south, assuring it a particularly high passenger traffic. The first breakpoint encountered when leaving the Gare Saint Lazare is the Pont-Cardinet station, in  the Paris-Saint-Lazare line at Le Havre served by the trains of the L line of the Transilien. As well as been one of my favorite parking spots on street in Paris! As well as the covered market of Batignolles (see post) 

The history of Gare Saint-Lazare began during the reign of King of the French, Louis-Philippe I in 1837 with the opening of the Paris track to Saint-Germain at that time, a temporary wooden station, the Pier of the West, was built on the Place de l’Europe, in the out of the Batignolles Tunnel, located at the former Tivoli Gardens Park. The line serves then for travelers the current stations of Pont-Cardinet, Clichy-Levallois, Asnières, La Garenne-Colombes, Nanterre-Ville and Le Vésinet-Le Pecq. In 1841, a second temporary station, in masonry covered with a yellow coating, is built on rue de Stockholm, right in front of the Place de l’Europe . The intention of developers Pereire brothers, promoters of this railroad, is to extend the line to the center of Paris until the rue Tronchet!  that leads to the Church of the Madeleine (and my walking beat to work for several years). However,  opposition of the city and the owners concerned, the project of the station of La Madeleine is abandoned in 1841. The third station is built  at the corner of  rue d’Amsterdam and Rue Saint-Lazare, which the station takes its name. The work spans a long period of 1842 to 1853.

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In 1867, becoming the most important in Paris, Gare Saint-Lazare receives such extensions that one can speak of a fourth station, inaugurated moreover on 2 June, 1867 on the occasion of the Universal exhibition held in Paris, by the Emperor Napoleon III, accompanied by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Emperor Alexander II of Russia. In the same year, the Europe tunnel was abolished and replaced by a double metal bridge , reconstructed in concrete in 1931. From 1885 to 1889, a major expansion saw the construction of the current façade with two lateral wings at the tracks forming a “U”, and gave the Saint-Lazare station its present physiognomy. In 1885, a decree declares the extension of rue Saint-Lazare to 30 meters on the even numbers side between  rue d’Amsterdam and rue de Londres of public utility. The houses are destroyed and the Hotel Terminus is erected in their place. There are also the two squares that frame it, right in front of the main façade of the station to which it is connected by a walkway covered (now abandoned).  In 1919, the courier’s hall is extended by a second hall going to Boulevard des Batignolles (current parking lot of the Pont de l’Europe).

Although the station is mainly dedicated to commuter traffic, its international vocation has been marked by the existence of transatlantic trains to Le Havre-Maritime and Cherbourg-Maritime, in correspondence with the ships for New York. If the New-York-Express of the transatlantic General company circulated until the withdrawal of France in 1974, the Transatlantique-Express of the Cunard Line (for passengers of Queen Elizabeth 2, later Queen Mary 2), continues to circulate, even if the station Maritime (now called the Cite de la Mer) is no longer directly served. As for the Paris-Saint-Lazare-Dieppe-Maritime boat trains, in liaison with the ships to England, they circulated until 1994, replaced by the Eurostar service. Passengers to Ireland by boat continue to take the Paris-Le Havre trains.

A shopping arcade is created in 1974 in the basement of the Galerie des Pas Perdu , the general Tele display is installed, and escalators are set up towards the road to facilitate the correspondence with the Metro, in particular with the line 13 extended in 1976 to the south of Paris . In 1972, the line of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, integrated in the RER A line is transferred to the RATP and leads to the new underground station of  rue Auber  in the neighborhood  of  Chaussée d’Antin, located about 500 meters. Still with the Connection of the Cergy line, opened in March 1979, the RER A on  May 1988, followed by the Poissy line in 1989. The Gare Saint-Lazare has 27 lanes and is in correspondence with several urban transport lines (Metro, bus and RER).

The 27 tracks of the station are assigned in the following way:

1-4 (group II): Versailles-Rive-Droite and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche;

5 to 8 (group III): Nanterre-University, Maisons-Laffitte and Cergy-le-Haut;

9 to 12 (groups IV and VI): Ermont-Eaubonne, Cormeilles-en-Parisis;

13 to 17 (group V): Mantes (by Poissy), Evreux, Vernon;

18 to 27: Departures and arrivals outlines, tracks 26 and 27 also used for the trains of group VI towards Mantes (by Conflans-St. Honorine), Pontoise and Gisors.  

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From 2003 to 2007, the station’s work concentrated on the space of the Transverse wharf, a waiting area which gives access to the 27 tracks of the station. The work of the sector passage and cours d’Amsterdam, initiated in 2006 and completed in 2008, consisted of a widening of the existing passage towards the cours d’Amsterdam, leading to the rue d’Amsterdam, with the creation of a real secondary entrance on this axis. From 2009 to 2012, the most important phase of the work is underway; it has as its object the modernization of the heart of the station with the transformation of the old Galerie des pas Perdu (Hall of lost steps) in a shopping center Saint Lazare on three levels along the 194 meters long hall (213 meters in front), the creation of an underground parking lot and the creation of simpler connections with the metro. End of 2009, the bunker of WWII, implanted in the first basement facing the tracks 4 and 5 at the back of the old shopping arcade was destroyed, because its presence was incompatible with the facilities retained. The new Saint-Lazare train station was inaugurated on March 21, 2012. The Galerie des pas Perdu  has now become a skylight thanks to the development of the canopy and the arrangement of the new eighty boutiques spread over three levels; It is equipped with 20 escalators, 300 information screens and a new acoustic comfort. Thus, the passenger traffic was fluidized and a waiting room was opened. The final component of the Saint-Lazare project is the renovation from May 2013 until the beginning of 2014 of the two courtyards Rome and Havre (cour de Rome and cour du Havre), and that of the inner street, between the main building and the Hilton Paris Opéra Hotel.

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Some of the goodies here in addtion to many other is the opening last September 2013 of the Restaurant Lazare by star Chef  Éric Fréchon  that you can access from the shopping center and the inner street (rue Intérieure). Super good!!! webpage: https://lazare-paris.fr/  

The new great shopping center  Saint Lazare in the train station, superb, we went from Morbihan there just to see the opening! The webpage: https://st-lazare-paris.klepierre.fr/

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Some of the artsy things that happened here were :

In 1877, Claude Monet left Argenteuil for Paris, and the painter asked for permission to work in the Gare Saint-Lazare, close to his home. He finds inspiration in the modernity and mobility of the subject, its changing brightness, and the vapor clouds. He produced a series of twelve paintings from various viewpoints, including views of the vast hall, where he focused more on light and color effects than on a detailed description of the railway universe.

Since 1985, two works of art “accumulations” of the French painter and sculptor Arman, five-meters highs, were placed in the two courtyards of the station: Consigne à vie ( a life-time deposit), representing a stack of suitcases, in the cour de Rome and the time for all, representing a stacking of pendulums(clocks), in the cour du Havre.

In the cinema, La Bête humaine (the Human Beast), a French film of 1938 adapted from the eponymous novel by Émile Zola and directed by Jean Renoir, takes place in part in the Gare de Paris-Saint-Lazare and its surroundings.

The station also appears in the songs: at Gare Saint-Lazare (lyrics by Pierre Delanoë, music by Renard Jean, new editions Meridian, released at Polydor in 1962), which is interpreted by Colette Deréal, it is practically entirely dedicated, to the station even it is only fleetingly quoted in the song. Vesoul, written, composed and performed by Jacques Brel in 1968. We can also cite Snack-bar Gare Saint-Lazare, which dates from 1956 (lyrics by Boris Vian and Geo Dorlis, music by Louiguy).

What are the transports here, plenty.

The Gare Saint-Lazare is served by the RER E line on the RER A in case of a breakdown of interconnection in Nanterre-prefecture, the trains destined for Cergy-le-Haut were terminus and origin Paris-Saint-Lazare, joining the normal route from Houilles-Carriéres-sur-Seine.

The Saint-Lazare metro station is on Lines 3, 12, 13 and 14. A corridor connects Saint-Augustin station from line 9 to Saint-Lazare station on line 14 and, as a result, to Gare Saint-Lazare. It is possible to reach the Opéra station from Saint-Augustin and Saint-Lazare by going to the RER E quays and then taking the corridors leading to the Metro lines 7 and 8 at the Opéra station and at the Auber station of the RER A.

The station is served by Bus lines 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 43, 53, 66, 80, 81, 94, 95 and 528 of the RATP bus network and, at night, by the lines N01, N02, 15, 16, 51, N52, N53, N150, N151, N152 , N153 and N154 of the Noctilien network.  Buses 95,81,and 27 are great sightseeing too and cheaper than the tourist buses….They are at terminus in the .cour de Rome, place Gabriel Péri and rue St-Lazare.

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The Paris tourist office on Saint Lazare: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73404/Gare-Saint-Lazare

The Transilien line on Saint Lazare: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/gare-de-paris-saint-lazare-8738400

the SNCF information on the Saint Lazare train station: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpsl/paris-saint-lazare

The TER Regional lines on Saint Lazare : https://www.ter.sncf.com/normandie/gares/87384008/Paris-Saint-Lazare/prochains-departs

There you go folks, a memorable Saint Lazare train station indeed, full of nice souvenirs and good cheers. Enjoy Paris but do check ahead for strikes, yikes!!

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

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January 5, 2021

The Petit Trianon of Versailles!

Ok so this is big, huge for me; trying to update this post on the beautiful Petit Trianon of Versailles. You know if reading my blog, I lived here for 9 years! sublime but more importantly for me , the Petit Trianon was my hanging out area, we jogged here, and ate on the little Angelina open air terrace; so many family memories. Hope you can go along with me on this long post on the history of this wonderful little castle!

We avoided the crowds coming with my boys on a bus 19 from the Parly II shopping center/arboretum in Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt  down ave de Versailles to the Porte Saint Antoine and into the Petit Trianon.  Of course, many more times by car, parking just outside the Porte Saint Antoine. 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.

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This is the grand history of the Petit Trianon of Versailles!

The Petit Trianon is a castle located in the Domaine de Versailles.(name that includes the castle ,trianons, hameau etc all) . Built by the architect of King Louis XV, Ange-Jacques Gabriel, from 1762 to 1768, it is considered a masterpiece of neo Classicism, 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 domaine de 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.

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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 made it 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, felled 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 appeared, 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.

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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 the 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 behaved 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 revolutionary 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 the Petit 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 revealed. 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 Architecturally 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.

versailles petit trianon pool table

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 conifères that divides the garden of Louis XIV to that of Louis XV.

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.

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.

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.

You will 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 teacher 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 in 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.

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 (daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette), small salon of Madame Elisabeth( Louis XVI sister) , toilet of Marie-Louise,  room of Marie-Louise,  (2nd wife of Napoléon Ier) Boudoir of the Duchess of Orleans (wife of Louis-Philippe) and the corner of the Empress Eugénie (wife of Napoléon III).

In 1738 Louis XV ordered done a marble figure of 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.

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 saved 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 Richard lives past the French revolution and help save the gardens of Versailles from the auction block. A true hero ,and one my son is studying this profession!

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).

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 ,and of course gorgeous inside if photos can be taken!!

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

The city of Versailles Tourist office on the Petit Trianon : https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/le-petit-trianon.html

The Château de Versailles on the Petit Trianon : http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/estate-trianon/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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