A month after his ascension to the throne, Louis XVI gave the Petit Trianon to Marie Antoinette who desired a place that would allow her to escape the rigid and restrictive etiquette of the Court. She became passionately fond of the estate and extended it with an “Anglo-Chinese" garden that juxtaposed with the geometric splendour of the gardens of Versailles. In 1782, she added a "new garden" which contained half-timber cottages built around a pond and forming a little village whose rustic exterior contrasted with often refined interiors.
The Queen’s architect, Richard Mique from Lorraine, was in charge of the execution of this project designed for the education of the royal children in an ode to nature and country life, something that was characteristic of the spirit of the Lumières. The Hamlet also included a real farm and a farmer who was in charge of running it and managing the livestock, crops, mill and dairy.
The Queen and her children, as well as her "little society" of friends and very often the King, enjoyed the delights of this pretend village during walks, dinners or light meals and occasional country-style celebrations, but no guests or members of the Court ever spent the night there. In the evening, the Queen returned to her room in the Petit Trianon.
Long abandoned and wrongly considered as an eccentric fancy of Marie-Antoinette, who spent happy but also dramatic moments there, the Hamlet is gradually coming back to life.
This work, abundantly illustrated with original documents, ends with a chapter on the restoration and refurnishing of the Hamlet related by Jeremiah Benedict, Head Curator of the Trianon palaces at National Estate of Versailles.
Jean des Cars is a Historian of great European dynasties. His best-sellers include Louis II de Bavière, Sissi ou la fatalité, La Saga des Romanov, La Saga des reines and Nicolas II et Alexandra de Russie.
Price (incl. VAT): €23.90
Format (L x H): 161 x 210 mm
Pages: 224 pages
EAN code: 9782081374430