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Palaces and Châteaux

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Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Elena on Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:19 pm

There is a lot to talk about here.

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Le Petit Hameau de la Reine

Post  Elena on Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:46 pm

In 1783, Queen Marie-Antoinette commissioned the architect Mique to build a village and farm on the grounds of her private retreat, the Petit Trianon. The "little hamlet" was to provide food for the royal family, thus giving an example of self-sufficiency to other nobles, as well as celebrating the traditional agricultural life of the French people. The queen invited several destitute families to live and work in the hameau. She saw the farm as a way that her children could experience the healthiness of country life, without actually leaving Versailles. Life in the palace had little or no privacy for the royal family; Marie-Antoinette wanted her children to have one place where they could be themselves. Like many "home-schooling" parents, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette feared that their children would grow up too isolated from the real world. The farm was a "safe" environment where they could get an idea of how ordinary people lived, see the livestock, learn about plants and nature. Most of all, it was a place for the children to play.

The farm has often been cited as an example of decadence on the part of Marie-Antoinette, particularly the dairy with the porcelain milk pitchers. However, it must be taken into account that wealthy people all over Europe were building "follies" in their gardens, such as a fake ruined castles, ornate mosques, Chinese tea houses, solely for decoration. At least, Marie-Antoinette's hameau had a practical purpose. Of course, she would not wear an elaborate court gown when spending time on the farm; she would wear a simple cotton dress and sometimes an apron. Therefore she is still accused of "playing dairy maid." I somehow do not see how milking cows with her children and friends can be regarded as extreme frivolity; it seems like a fairly innocent past time to me. In the main "farm house" there was elegant furniture, a billiard table and such amenities for entertaining in the manner expected of a queen. Foreign guests and ambassadors were occasionally given hospitality at the hameau, although it was mainly just for the family.

There was also an orchard, berry bushes, fishing in the pond, and lots of vegetables in the garden. Everyone needs a refuge, a place to be quiet. In our busy world there seems to be more of an appreciation of Marie-Antoinette's creative way of carving out a retreat for herself and her family, one which patronized and exulted French craftsmanship while simultaneously helping the poor.

(See Vincent Cronin's Louis and Antoinette, and Pierre de Nolhac's Versailles and the Trianons)
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2008/04/le-petit-hameau-de-la-reine.html






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The Temple of Love

Post  Elena on Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:51 pm

The Temple of Love is one of the most unforgettable places in the gardens of the Petit Trianon, on a little island directly behind the house. Queen Marie-Antoinette commissioned the architect Mique to design and build the neo-classical structure in 1778. The Temple of Love was not built to celebrate the queen's mythical love for Count Fersen, as some authors have hinted; Fersen was was a mere acquaintance at the time. Lady Antonia Fraser in Marie-Antoinette: The Journey maintains that it was built to celebrate the love of the king and the queen for each other and the consummation of their marriage, delayed for many years.

The consummation took so long because Marie-Antoinette was a mere child when she was married; she was fourteen but looked as if she were much younger, and Louis was not a pervert. He was a gentleman, and waited for her to mature. He also approached his bride in a restrained manner because his aunties had inculcated in him the dangers for France when a king became enthralled by a woman, as had happened to his grandfather Louis XV. Louis could probably see himself becoming quite easily enthralled with Marie-Antoinette, and so he held himself back. Also, as author Simone Bertière speculates in L'Insoumise, there may have been a physical problem with Marie-Antoinette which made marital relations difficult at first. In their early twenties, however, the young couple found their bonheur essentiel, their "essential happiness," as Marie-Antoinette wrote to her mother. It became a marriage which all the forces of hell could not sunder.





http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2008/04/le-temple-damour.html

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Scenes from Versailles

Post  Elena on Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:05 am

I found a blog with strikingly detailed pictures of Versailles, put together by an American lady living in France. Karin links to many informative sites and mentions some books which may be helpful. Please enjoy her wonderful photography. http://analienparisienne.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/chateau-de-versailles-part-two/ The palace has been refurbished and is probably cleaner now than it was during the last days before the Revolution, when the antiquated sewage system was always in need of repair.

It is often forgotten that the royal family of France were seen as belonging to the people. As described in the novel Trianon, the palace of Versailles was open to the public; anyone could enter as long as they were appropriately attired. For gentlemen this meant wearing a sword; swords could be rented at the palace gates. The tradition of freedom and openness meant that the royal family often dined surrounded by crowds of people; the princesses were required to give birth in public. Merchants set up stalls in the grand salons, selling ribbons and snuff; beggars roamed the corridors. Security did not seem to be an issue. Unfortunately, such liberty led to Marie-Antoinette being stalked by a mental patient, but she refused to have the culprit arrested.

The grandeur of Versailles was already in place when Marie-Antoinette came to France as a fourteen year old girl. As queen, it was her duty to patronize French artisans and artists and by doing so put the money went back into the lagging French economy. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette did a great deal to economize as time went on. When the Queen tried to simplify her clothes and lifestyle, people objected that she was not living and dressing grandly enough for her rank.

Many people think that Versailles was solely a place of pleasure and luxury. That is not the case. Versailles was not only the residence of the royal family; it was the seat of government. Ambassadors were received at the palace; they expected to see French culture at its height and be lavishly entertained. There were many civil servants and government officials who had incomes paid by the King; there were retired servants who had life pensions. There were regiments of soldiers stationed there. There were the extensive benefactions of the King and Queen. All the cost of running the government was part of the expenditures of Versailles. The budget, and indeed, the tax system of the entire country certainly was in need of reform, which was why Louis XVI summoned the Estates-General in 1789. Simon Schama has a great deal more about this in his excellent work Citizens.



http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2010/02/scenes-from-versailles.html

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The Salon of Peace

Post  Elena on Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:11 am





From Lauren's Marie-Antoinette blog:
http://marie-antoinettequeenoffrance.blogspot.com/2009/02/art-du-jour-louis-xv-donnant-la-paix.html
This piece is called Louis XV donnant la Paix à l'Europe - Louis XV Bringing Peace to Europe. The work was done by François Lemoyne, a rival painter to de Troy. The piece can be viewed at the salon de la Paix.

The Salon of Peace was built at the same time as la Salon de la Guerre, Salon of War. The painting was placed there in 1729, and hangs above the mantelpiece surrounded by 6 busts of the Caesars.

When the painting was added the salon was attached to the Queen's Apartments, and used for musical performances by the chapel musicians. Marie Antoinette used the room for playing cards with men and women of the court.

In the painting, our main figure is Louis XV. Peace appears in the form of the olive branch between him and Europe. An ideal King, taking care of France right away! In the portrait he is only 19.

In return he is being offered twin baby girls. The babies are offered by Fertility, the swanky nude. His first children were twin girls and he loved them more than anything, really. What is ironic here, is that we have a portrait of Louis as King but as father. No Queen in sight! And yet it hangs in her apartments. A pleasant reminder of her family or...

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Schloss Schönbrunn

Post  Sophie on Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:29 am

Wikipedia:

"In the year 1569, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II purchased a large floodplain of the Wien river beneath a hill, situated between Meidling and Hietzing, where a former owner, in 1548, had erected a mansion called Katterburg. The emperor ordered the area to be fenced and put game there such as pheasants, ducks, deer and boar, in order to serve as the court's recreational hunting ground. In a small separate part of the area, 'exotic' birds like turkeys and peafowl were kept. Fishponds were built, too.
The name Schönbrunn (meaning 'beautiful spring'), has its roots in an artesian well from which water was consumed by the court. During the next century, the area was used as a hunting and recreation ground.



The sculpted garden space between the palace and the Sun Fountain is called the Great Parterre. The French garden, a big part of the area, was planned by Jean Trehet in 1695. It contains, among other things, a maze.
The complex however includes many more attractions: Besides the Tiergarten, an orangerie erected around 1755, staple luxuries of European palaces of its type, a palm house (replacing, by 1882, around ten earlier and smaller glass houses in the western part of the park) is noteworthy. Western parts were turned into English garden style in 1828–1852. At the outmost western edge, a botanical garden going back to an earlier arboretum was re-arranged in 1828, when the Old Palm House was built. A modern enclosure for Orangutans, was restored besides a restaurant and office rooms in 2009. Lining the Great Parterre are 32 sculptures, which represent deities and virtues."



And the missing details from Wikipedia Wink :

Maria Theresa and Franz I. Stephan used the castle as a summer residence. Catharina Habsburg-Lothringen writes in her Marie-Antoinette-biography how the imperial childen used to play in the gardens. Antoinette left Vienna in springtime, so she actually left the Hofburg, but during her way she saw Schönbrunn from the carriage window. She was very touched while saying goodbye to this childhood paradise. As I read in IMDB, Sofia Coppola used in her film the Belvedere as Antoinette's summer place, but it's historical incorrect because Maria Theresa used the Belvedere only for political and not for private aims, so they never actually lived there.


Last edited by Sophie on Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Hofburg, Vienna

Post  Sophie on Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:34 am

Wikipedia:

"Hofburg Palace is a palace located in Vienna, Austria, that has housed some of the most powerful people in Austrian history, including the Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian empire. It currently serves as the official residence of the President of Austria. It was the Habsburgs' principal winter residence, as the Schönbrunn Palace was their preferred summer residence.
The Hofburg area has been the documented seat of government since 1279 for various empires and republics. The Hofburg has been expanded over the centuries to include: various residences (with the Amalienburg), the chapel (Hofkapelle or Burgkapelle), museums (the Naturhistorisches Museum & Kunsthistorisches Museum), the Imperial Library (Hofbibliothek now the Prunksaal), the treasury (Schatzkammer), the national theatre (Burgtheater), the riding school (Hofreitschule), the horse stables (the Stallburg and Hofstallungen) and the Hofburg Congress Center.
The Hofburg faces the Heldenplatz ordered under the reign of Emperor Francis Joseph, as part of what was to become a Kaiserforum that was never completed.
Numerous architects have executed work at the Hofburg as it expanded, notably the Italian architect-engineer Filiberto Luchese (the Leopoldischiner Trakt), Lodovico Burnacini and Martino and Domenico Carlone, the Baroque architects Lukas von Hildebrandt and Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach (the Reichschancelry Wing and the Winter Riding School), Johann Fischer von Erlach (the library), and the architects of the grandiose Neue Burg built between 1881 and 1913."

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Belvedere

Post  Sophie on Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:36 am

Wikipedia:

"(...) The imperial couple never moved into the Gartenpalais, which was first described as the Belvedere in their sales contract of November 1752. The complex was somewhat eclipsed by the other imperial palaces, and at first the buildings were left unused. Maria Theresa later created an ancestors' gallery of the Habsburg dynasty in the Lower Belvedere, as was the custom in all other palaces belonging to the imperial family. The palace was only once awakened from its slumbers in 1770 when a masked ball was staged there on 17 April to mark the occasion of the Imperial Princess Maria Antonia's marriage with the French Dauphin, who was later to become Louis XVI. The Lord High Chamberlain Prince Johann Joseph Khevenhüller-Metsch and the court architect Nicolaus Pacassi were charged with taking care of the extensive preparations for the ball to which 16,000 guests were invited. (...)"

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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Elena on Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:22 am

Lovely!! Thank you so much, Sophie! cheers cheers

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Petit Trianon

Post  Elena on Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:44 pm

Petit Trianon was originally built by Louis XV for his mistress Madame de Pompadour. It was a country-house on the grounds of Versailles, about a fifteen minute walk from the main palace. In 1774, the new twenty year old King Louis XVI gave the Little Trianon to his wife, nineteen year old Marie-Antoinette, saying, "Since Trianon has always belonged to mistresses of the king, it is only right that I should give it to you." It became a retreat where the queen could escape from the opulence and stiff formality of the court and live simply with her family. After her children were born, the queen was often there with them, desiring them to have as normal a childhood as possible. Marie-Antoinette has been criticized for "playing dairy maid" because of the farm she established at Trianon, giving homes and employment to otherwise destitute peasant families. Furthermore, the royal family was fed by the produce of the farm, in an attempt to cut back expenses. There were fish in the lake, fruit trees, berries, vegetables, livestock and the famous dairy with the Sevres milk pitchers. Horticultural experiments were applied there, new strains of plants, which were meant to better the lot of all the people. It was at Petit Trianon in 1785 that potatoes were introduced to France.

I first visited Trianon when I was seventeen years old. It was January, but the birds were inexplicably singing in the gardens. There was a strong sense of timelessness that I experienced then and on successive trips. Others have confided to me a similar feeling of enchantment when wandering through the gardens of Marie-Antoinette. Friends and relatives who have visited Trianon tell me that the descriptions and ambiance in the novel are quite accurate. There is nothing more pleasing to an author....

Below is a painting by Joseph Caraud (1821-1905) of Marie-Antoinette and her daughter Madame Royale, relaxing at Trianon in the calm before the storm.

http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2006/11/petit-trianon.html





Last edited by Elena on Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:08 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Chapel at Petit Trianon

Post  Elena on Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:05 pm



The chapel at Petit Trianon was used by Marie-Antoinette during her stays there. Sometimes she would visit her country house for an afternoon but other times she would remain there for a month. The altar painting (1774) by Joseph-Marie Vien portrays Saint Louis IX and Queen Marguerite visiting Saint Thibauld, whom they were asking to pray for them to have a child. What a very appropriate subject for the chapel of a Queen who spent many years praying for children herself! The statues on either side of the altar of "St. Anne" and "Christ in the Garden of Olives" by Jacques-Augustin Dieudonné were added by King Louis-Philippe in the mid-nineteenth century. The chapel is decorated in a simple style so cherished by Marie-Antoinette, as is the rest of Petit Trianon. There is a tiny onion dome over the chapel roof reminiscent of Austria.

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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Elena on Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:53 pm



Newly restored Pavillon in Gardens of Trianon. The Royal couple would entertain important guests here.
http://vivelareine.tumblr.com/post/19412526370

More here:

http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2010/05/invitation.html

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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Sophie on Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:34 pm

There's something stuck in my head for some days... so, as we all know from the letters and memoirs, the courts of Louis XV and then Louis XVI often went on hunting trips to places like

- Fontainebleau (the place where they welcomed the Savoyan sister-in-laws of Louis XVI)



- Compiégne (the place where they welcomed Antoinette and also the place where she probably spent her first night with Louis as husband and wife)



But my question about it is something I found neither in primary nor in secondary sources: how did they "change" court etiquette when they moved to these smaller palaces to have a little rest? I suppose it was an easier and not so regulated way of life with less people among them... but who were the most important people whom they necessarily had to take with, and which ceremonies were also held out of Versailles? I hope it's not a "who cares?"-question, I'm simply curious if there are any sources about it Very Happy

(Elena, have I already mentioned that the Compiégne scene is my favourite part from your novel Trianon? Smile Maybe that's why I want to get some more information about this "forgotten place"...)
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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Elena on Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:48 pm

Excellent photos! Thank you, Sophie! They managed to adapt the etiquette to every change of circumstance!

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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Sophie on Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:46 am

You're welcome! Thank you for the answer, this is how I imagined it, too... Very Happy
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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  MadameRoyale on Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:33 pm

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all well. I just returned from my first visit to Versailles! I, too, felt the sense of enchantment and reverie while walking through Petit Trianon. I was most compelled by the Belvedere. All around the building there are little niches and pathways with wild flowers. There's a rock structure with a grotto that I have never come across in reading. I was wondering if you guys knew anything at all about this mysterious mountain-like sculpture. 

This is a view of the rock from the pathway. The bridge leads to the Belvedere. 



Here are some closer views: 
 

This is the grotto / pond in behind : 


Here are some shots of the gorgeous pathways!



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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Elena on Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:50 pm

What excellent photos! Thank you!!!flower

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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Sophie on Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:26 am

This is extraordinary: http://www.messynessychic.com/2014/03/28/couple-buys-abandoned-french-chateau-start-blog-share-journey/

"These dusty stairways and crumbling walls once belonged to the Marquis Louis Gaspard de Sales, who commissioned Parisian architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, (famous for his Petit Trianon in Versailles) to build him a grand abode that could host lavish parties for the likes of Voltaire and the crème de la crème of French nobility. When the French Revolution came around, the chateau was spared and later bought by a local family." And we can see, thank the Australian owners, what is happening to it today...  Wink 
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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Elena on Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:31 am

Thank you for posting this, Sophie!! Very Happy 

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Re: Palaces and Châteaux

Post  Elena on Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:51 pm

Here are pictures of Marie-Antoinette's Tour de Malbrouk, built in her gardens to commemorate the birth of the Dauphin. http://allonico.tumblr.com/post/82825672319/le-hameau-de-la-reine-marie-antoinettes-estate

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