In the gardens of Versailles there is a small castle called Petit Trianon which was gifted to the various women of the palace since Louis XV first gave it to Madame de Pompadour. This miniature castle became the play house or miniature delightful residence and sanctuary of these women away from the main chateau. Whilst enjoyed by Madame de Pompadour and a few others after her, my interest lay in its time in the hands of Marie Antoinette. Notoriously extravagant Marie took great pleasure in parties, playing and all manner of enjoyable indulgences with her friends and esteemed guests. Meanwhile her husband King Louis XVI preferred a quiet more reserved lifestyle playing instead with his locks at the main chateau, leaving Marie to enjoy the fruits life as a spoilt queen in the extensive grounds of Versailles allowed.
As someone who has studied the French revolution and the court of Versailles with a fascinated, mystified and somewhat wishful desire to be there, I relished the entire experience, dreaming and imagining what it would have felt like to be a part of it.
Marie Antoinette was the only queen to impose her own personal taste on Versailles, through decorative style, ingenious mechanical windows inside Petit Trianon and the construction of her Hamlet in its grounds. Escaping the pomp and tradition of the old court at Versailles Marie preferred to live as she wished in the privacy of her Trianon domain. She particularly enjoyed spending time in her very own English style village where she could be amongst lambs and nature with her ladies and enjoy the charms of the ‘simple’ life she had created for herself.