WITH MARIE ANTOINETTE
SHE WISHED SHE COULD LIVE
IN THE MIDST OF FLOWERS...
🌿 THE PETIT TRIANON 🌿
- THE JEWEL BOX-
Originally created by Louis XV for Madame de Pompadour, the Petit Trianon was handed down to Marie by her husband.
Immediately, she went to work refashioning the interior -picking out new furnishings that fulfilled her pastoral fantasies.
She so loved flowers that they adorned every surface: boiseries of bouquets on the wood panelled walls; lily of the valley, jasmine and pine-cones on the carved chairs; and whole fields of embroidered flowers on the tapestries, hangings and coverings.
🌿 LE HAMEAU DE LA REINE 🌿
- THE FARM-
In addition to the Petit Trianon, Marie began work on a small village, in which she could spend her time - happily frolicking between fields of cows, milkmaids, and cooing doves.
Thus, the Hameau de la Reine was created, with eight rustic buildings, their roofs thatched, their brick and stone walls adorned with creeping vines.
Marie spent her time at the Hameau wandering between...
- The Water Mill & artificial river
- The Barn (used for balls and parties)
- The Dovecote
- The Queen's House & adjoining Billiards Room
🌿 THE ENGLISH GARDEN 🌿
Marie replaced Louis XV's famous botanical gardens with a living nature that was not imprisoned by greenhouses: her own English Gardens. Reflecting her own wishes for freedom, her gardens were designed for walking, picnicking and for intimate gatherings.
Hidden between the trees and fields were small paths, leading to secret grottos cut out of the rocks. There, she could speak freely with her friends without being watched.
🌿 FREEDOM 🌿
BY ORDER OF THE QUEEN
Rules at the Petit Trianon were 'by order of the Queen', and she had decreed that no one may visit unless given her personal invitation to do so.
And so, Marie lived on her little estate in peace, quietude and intimacy with her closest friends. There, she could forget about the grandeur and rigours of royal life. "Here I am myself", she would often say.
When Marie walked into a room at Trianon, no one rose to greet her, but instead they carried on their conversations as she sat down to join them.
In order to protect her privacy, Marie had 'moving mirrors' made for her own Boudoir. The mirrors would be lifted from the floor to cover the windows.
Similarly, she had a device made for the movement of the dining table - which could be set by the servers in the rooms below, before being hauled up to the dining room and appearing through the floor, fully dressed, as if by magic.
🌿 DAILY PLEASURES 🌿
During the daytime, Marie and her friends engaged in many fine activities, including:
Walks and promenades through the gardens.
Lunching alfresco in the grass - a favourite pastime of Marie and her husband Louis XVI.
Playing parlour games such as Blind Man's Buff.
Receiving visiting musicians such as Gluck, Piccini and Gretry.
Reading to one another from books of poetry, or from the works of Rousseau.
Collecting fresh milk and cheese from the Hameau.
Rehearsing for a play, put on and enacted by themselves.
Of an evening, Marie would continue living the joys of a simple life surrounded by much cheer....
Playing at cards and gambling
Playing Billiards in the room adjoined to her own.
Singing and playing the harpsichord, accompanied by her friends and distinguished guests.
Holding balls in the barn at the Hameau.
Putting on fêtes in the grounds of the Petit Trianon, dressing as a 'lemonade seller' or a simple chatelaine.
Putting on plays for the King.
🌿 THE THEATRE 🌿
In 1780, Marie had her own theatre built, and together with her friends she formed the troupe des seigneurs, putting on plays for the King and her close companions.
After the theatre was built, decked out with blue moiré walls and painted ceilings of clouds, Marie her troupe spent much of their time rehearsing.