Petit Trianon: after the restoration
Le Petit Trianon, like much of Versailles, has undergone a major and much needed restoration over the past decades, and now the final part of the project, the servants’ quarters, is opening to the public.
The idea was to recreate the place as it existed on the 6th of October 1789, when the royal family was forced by a mob of starving women to leave Versailles, never to return, and resettle into the Palace of the Tuileries in Paris.
Le Petit Trianon was Marie-Antoinette’s very private estate on the grounds of Versailles. The little chateau itself already existed (it had been built under the prior reign for King Louis XV’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour.)
Marie-Antoinette redecorated and refurnished the chateau, and added a jardin à l’anglaise, complete with a grotto, a fake hamlet, the Hameau de la Reine, and her own private theater.
She was seated inside the grotto when she was heard the news of the arrival of the mob on the 5th of October. I went to sit there too, trying to imagine her feelings on that day.
But my own favorite spot is the delightful, diminutive theater, done in blue, white and gold. Marie-Antoinette loved to set up plays, including Beaumarchais’s Les Noces de Figaro, forbidden by the royal censure for its attacks on the Ancien Regime. There too you can imagine her, standing on the stage, playing her favorite part, that of the maid Rosine, Figaro’s fiancée.
Barely a year away from the Revolution…
All is now restored and awaiting your visit!