Petit Trianon: after the restoration

Versailles Petit Trianon Facade

Versailles Petit Trianon Facade

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.)


Versailles Petit Trianon theatre

Versailles Petit Trianon theatre

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!

Versailles Petit Trianon salon

Versailles Petit Trianon salon

Versailles Petit Trianon salon

Versailles Petit Trianon salon


5 Comments to “Petit Trianon: after the restoration”

  1. Elisa says:

    I went to Le Petit Trianon and Versailles on a day excursion 4 years ago. (I was on a summer study aboard program in Paris) Quel chateau! I didn’t get to see the grotto since there was a landscaping project there at the time and the area was closed.

    After touring the palace grounds, we went into the town and had lunch.

  2. This is great to know! Thank you, Catherine!

    I’ve been to Versailles three times and each time Le Petit Trianon was closed. Well… another excuse for going back and visiting!

  3. Catherine Delors says:

    Elisa and Michelle – You’ll have to go back to admire the whole thing. I am planning a trip there myself very soon before the Les Grandes Eaux shows stop.

    And Versailles is so beautiful during the fall, when the woods turn golden.

  4. Penny Klein says:

    it looks rather different from the other photos i have clicked on from your archives, was that a mistake?
    the inside is gorgeous. My ancestors are from “Anatevka” if you know what i mean.

  5. Fazal Hayat says:

    Actually my first vist to both the Trianons was way back in September 1979.
    Gerald Vander Kemp and his staff were very kind to show me through; I can never thank them enough for opening this wonderful visual chapter in my life.

    Once you have been to le Petit Trianon, you can never ever leave it. No small wonder Miss Moberly saw the ghosts of the much maligned queen Marie Antoinette and her staff roaming in the gardens. Nobody seems to recall the first inhabitant Madame la Comtesse du Barry-though it is apalling that both womwn who adored Petit Trianon met such a volatile end.

    The restoration work undertaken by the watch company is an appriciable endeavour; I hope there will be further such actions by far far more plump chickens to come and readdress this lovely piece of an architectural gem of 18th. Century French Architecture.

    Somehow, the panel of experts who seem to ‘control’ the restoration programmes cannot seem to decide for finality the actual size of thge window panes, evrytime you are there they are DIFFERENT. It is so annoying.

    I further wish the large paintings in the Salon de Compagnie from the original times of Louis XV and Madame du Barry are re-installed. They would certainly complete the picture and the effect of the original conception be called back. So, should be the porcelain stoves in the first antechamber, they should be put back, if not the originals, then maybe contemporary copies of the epoch. Now that the panels of the Salon Frais are not there anymore, the gaping holes of curtained doors do no do visual justice to the first room.

    I personally think the gilding done to the boiserie-panelling is quite grotesque and ostentatious; Petit Trianon was a place of country-interiors; ornate gilding has no place in such simple surroundings.

    I wish Petit Trianon Good Luck.

    I also wish Soffia Couppla had shot the interiors of la Petit Trianon for her film on the queen Marie Antoinette. Hers is such a mish-mash and shoddy film. The 1939 Norma Shearer Tyronne Power was equally illusionistic-architecturally speaking. the studio interior sets do no justice to the actual gem.

    May God Bless Jacques-Ange Gabriel.