The Grand Trianon of Versailles!!!

And here I am updating this wonderful monument of my beloved Versailles in my belle France. I have come here many times even if pictures are scarse; as said, living and visiting are two different things. Let me update for you and I , the Grand Trianon of Versailles! Hope you enjoy it as I, and see my other post on it.

Now going back to my previous neck of the woods so saying, this is Versailles hello world!! The Royal city of Versailles has many wonders and some seldom visited . Surveys done by the city of Versailles tell us that 98% of visitors to the city only come to see the palace/museum!! Oh my God, there is so much more in Versailles, my town ,another beloved spot on earth for me.  9 glorious happy years of family living with memories to last a lifetime. Let me tell you about a gem, call the Grand Trianon.

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Before the current Trianon there was a building built by the architect Le Vau on the order of king Louis XIV, which was called the Trianon de porcelain. Its walls were covered with Delft tiles. Destroyed in 1687, it was replaced from the following year by the Trianon de marble. The architect was Jules Hardouin-Mansart. This is the palace we see today. The king reserved it for the feasts, the concerts, the snacks in the middle of the rest. His garden was covered with flowers, specially chosen for their colors and smells.

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The pieces of the Grand Trianon are all marked by history. The Kings and the emperor who lived there left their mark. The most visible are those of Napoleon I and Louis-Philippe. The Trianon-sous-Bois wing was a time reserved for the President of the French Republic. After the visit of the castle, the visit of the Grand Trianon is indispensable. Apart from the architecture, the furniture and some pieces of porcelain, you can admire dozens of beautiful paintings of the great century, including the works of Charles de la Fosse ,and Jean Jouvenet .

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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.

The gallery of the Cotelle or galerie de la Cotelle done in  1687, to decorate the gallery, it was ordered 24 paintings illustrating the groves and fountains of the gardens of Versailles. 21 of these paintings are of the painter Jean Cosuch (1645-1708). The room is 52 meters long and 7 meters wide. Done by the Jean Cotelle, the young. They show forest or gardens that today are no longer, but were, such as the Bosquet de 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 shown inside the castle until 1913, in memory of François Francine, a great gardener influential in Versailles the same as André Le Notre. It  communicates with the so-called Trianon-sous-Bois wing. It was built to serve as a reception room. Under the Empire, it housed a collection of model boats; Under Louis-Philippe, a collection of bronze and art objects.   As in the past, this gallery is now and then used for official receptions. So it is quite often closed to the public.

The Music Room or salon de la musique, after being the first antichamber of king Louis XIV, this room became a music parlor. The shutters that are seen at the top of the wall facing the windows opened in a grandstand where the musicians were installed. The room became an officer’s lounge under the Empire, then a billiard room under Louis-Philippe.

The Grand Trianon or Trianon de marble is  within the park of the castle or more appropiate the Domaine of Versailles. The exterior of the building is constructed of pink marble which gives it the name Trianon de marble, as opposed to the Trianon of porcelain which preceded it in the same location.  The Grand Trianon is made up of a courtyard, of a palace, and of a set of gardens and basins;  it includes at its entrance a large courtyard called the Cour d’honneur, framed by a building divided into two wings connected by a gallery with columns. The right wing is extended by a perpendicular wing called Trianon-sous-Bois. The building overlooks a set of French gardens and basins, including the flat bottom basin, the so-called ear basin and the Horseshoe Basin.

It was the place of residence or passing of several French or foreign royal figures, including king Louis XIV, tsar Peter I of Russia or queen Marie Leszczyńska, wife of king Louis XV. More recently there were General de Gaulle, or foreign heads of State on official visits to France, such as the American President Richard Nixon in 1969, or the Queen of the United Kingdom Elisabeth II in 1972. The bit of history I like tells us that in 1663 and 1665, king Louis XIV bought from the monks of the Abbaye Sainte-Geneviève de Paris the lands and the village of Trianon (named Triarnum in a papal bull of 1163).

Completed in 1672, the first castle of Trianon, known as the Trianon de porcelain, will remain so for 15 years. In Faïence porcelain very fragile, it quickly suffered the wear and tear of time and stopped pleasing the king who ordered its demolition in 1686, shortly after the visit of the ambassadors of the king of Siam, to build in his place a wider abode and a style resolutely different. The Trianon de marble is rebuilt on the rubble of the former Trianon de Porcelaine, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the first architect of the King, is responsible for its construction. The project is established in 1687. The Grand Trianon, or Trianon de marble, was inaugurated in the summer of 1688 by king Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon, who make it their private residence. The king regularly organized dinners with the aim of controlling the Court. Few guests were sleeping there because of the limited number of rooms. At the end of his reign, king Louis XIV opened more widely the Grand Trianon.  The panelling of the lounges welcomed many princes of the Royal house like the Grand Dauphin, the Duchess of Burgundy, the Duke of Berry and Duchess of Berry, the Duke of Chartres, the Duchess of Bourbon and the Duchess of Orléans, Madame Palatine.

King Louis XV is totally uninterested in the place, but he comes to hunt. the Queen Marie Leszczyńska, who resides there since August 1741 with more retreat, and pushed by her favourite, the Marquise de Pompadour, king Louis XV decided to retake the palace of Grand Trianon in 1749. He built the French pavilion, endowed with a farmyard, and the French garden. Finally, the construction of the Petit Trianon,(next post) between 1761 and 1768, gives its new name to the Trianon de marble, the Grand Trianon. Marie-Antoinette far prefers the Petit Trianon to the grand, spite of this, she gives some performances in the gallery of the Cotelle.

We have to wait for the first Empire for the domain to regain its importance. In 1805, emperor Napoleon I ordered the restoration of the two palaces. The emperor made many stays at the Grand Trianon between 1809 and 1813. In order to guarantee its security and to facilitate direct access to Grand Trianon without going through the Palace, it erected the entrance gate of the front yard and the two pavilions reserved for its personal guard. Under king Louis XVIII, no change is made to the Trianons, only the imperial symbols are removed.  In 1830, king Charles X stopped for a few hours on his way to exile. From 1830 to 1848, Marie-Amélie of Bourbon-Sicily renovated the castle to the liking of the day to live there, and married his daughter, Marie d’Orléans, with Alexandre de Württemberg, in 1837. Like his predecessor, king Louis-Philippe I made a halt at Trianon on the road to exile in 1848.

The Treaty of Trianon, which split the Balkans, was signed at the Grand Trianon by the warring powers of WWI in 1920. From 1959, General de Gaulle thought of making the Grand Trianon a presidential  residence. Only, the costs to be incurred for this were very important ; however it serves as a framework for the official receptions of the French c Republic, including the G7 Summit of 1982, the presidential guests residing in the wing of the Trianon-sous-Bois. Among the welcomed heads of state were the American presidential couple John and Jackie Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the Duke of Edinburgh, the latter being the Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1992. The room occupied by General de Gaulle remained as is, with two separate beds, very long ,due to his size.

A bit of overall description on the rooms are:

Apartment of the Impératrice, Chambre of the Empress ,Salon of the Chapel ,Salon of the Lords. The péristyle  of the Grand Trianon is the colonnaded gallery connecting the right wing and the left wing of the Grand Trianon, but also the courtyard to the gardens. It consists of open arcades on the courtyard and a colonnade on the garden. The nickname Trianon de marble of the Grand Trianon is due in particular to this peristyle whose pilasters are made of this rock=marbre.  There is a large living room ,salon de Musique,  Salon Louis-Philippe’s ,Salon of Malachite .The gallery of Cotelle, located in the north wing, features 11 windows and 5 windows are connected to the Garden lounge. It takes its name from the painter Jean Cotelle the young, portraitist and miniaturist of king Louis XIV who realizes 21 out of 24 paintings that are attached to it Salon of Jardins.

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.

Moving on to the  Small apartment of the emperor’s , Bedroom of the emperor’s,  antichamber of the emperor’s , topographical office of the Emperor’s,  cabinet particular of the Emperor’s; Breakfast living room, bath of the Emperor , and Trianon-sous-Bois in the north wing of the Grand Trianon built in to overcome a lack of space, this wing is built shortly before 1708 and is occupied by Madame Palatine, sister-in-law of King Louis XIV, and his family.  The billiard room is transformed into a chapel under king Louis-Philippe Ier. The marriage of Marie d’Orléans, daughter of Louis-Philippe, with Alexandre de Württemberg is held here in 1837. Columns in the Chapel come from the grove of the Dômes, and a stained glass window representing the assumption of the Virgin an order of the National manufactory of Sèvres.  And we finish the tour with the Bailiffs ‘ room ,waiting room for first aid and office of the President , the small living room , dining hall , Chapel of Louis-Philippe during the construction of the Trianon de marble, André le Nôtre traces in the gardens geometrical figures in compartment sections of greenery. The gardens are completed after his death, in 1700, by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who, in 1702, decorates them, among others, with a water buffet and creates groves and halls of greenery. Only the pride of Le Nôtre, the garden of Springs, located in the hollow of the gallery of the Costelle and Trianon-sous-Bois are preserved.

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.

There you go a full story tour. A wonderful place indeed in my beloved Versailles. You can avoid the lines rush from place d’Armes by going thru the porte Saint Antoine direct to the Grand Trianon ;this is done if you have a car or take bus line 19 by ave Saint Cloud to stop Parly II le Chesnay, walking down couple hundred meters on your right hand side.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must come are

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

The tourist office of Versailles on the Grand Trianonhttps://en.versailles-tourisme.com/the-grand-trianon.html

Hope it helps you enjoy the Grand Trianon as much as it does me. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

3 Comments to “The Grand Trianon of Versailles!!!”

  1. I had a lovely visit to Versailles in 1977.

    Liked by 1 person

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