Marie Antoinette Online Forum

Le Domaine de la Reine
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Author:  Aurora [ Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:01 am ]
Post subject:  Le Domaine de la Reine

Hello et bonjour everyone! I had the priviledge of visiting Versailles and wanted to share some things with you. I know many of you have been there several times and some of you are planning to go in the future.
Le Domaine de Marie Antoinette (Petit Trianon et Hameau avec les jardins) is now open after four years. Please notice that the chateau of Petit Trianon will be closed again for renovation from 1 Nov 06 to 31 Mars 07, but the gardens and Hameau are freely open during that time.

The most emotional thing for me was la Grotte. In fact I felt like being there forever, while it was a perfect quiet paradis.The spirit of La Reine was certainly there. I was however very amazed how few people where in these places of Marie Antoinette after all the marketing..I thought there would have been huge crowds and one hour waiting in the queue. In those little rustic paths we were sometimes all alone! Very nice! I visited there both in week-days and week-end, only little more people in the week-end to watch the magnificent fountaines with music.

The animals were out in the farm; a cow, donkeys, ponys, hens, goats, ducks, rabbits etc. In the shops they sell choclate, fans, organic marmelades and bonbons made from the fruits of the garden of Versailles. Also in the bookshop there are many new books on Marie Antoinette and a DVD of a concert held in her charming theatre.

Excusez-moi for this long message.There are so many things to tell, but I advise you to visit and feel it yourself! For me, I felt most the spirit of La Reine outside the buildings, in the plain nature in the gardens. There are also a special section for Marie Antoinette in the grand bookshop of Louvre, with many things. I bought many original memoires(Tourzel, Lauzun,de Stael etc.)now reprinted, which I found very interesting.

Coppola-movie was not at all dominating the scene, not in Paris or the village of Versailles! I couldn't help thinking that they could be a little ashamed for the film..

Author:  Pimprenelle [ Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:17 am ]
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Thank you so much, Aurora, for sharing your pleasure with us ! Yes, Marie-Antoinette's house and gardens are a little eden... and, indeed, she is there...

One of my French friends-surfers went there too this week-end and was as happily surprised as you were : not too many people, even after Coppola's movie marketing...

What did you think about her grotto, her blue theatre, her temple of love ? Were you allowed to visit houses of the hameau ? Last time I went to Versailles, in December, we could not yet see all these wonders...

But to rest on the quiet grass and listen to the song of water is a pure enchantment, isn't it ?

Author:  Aurora [ Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:28 am ]
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Oui, Pimprenelle! C'est pure magique!
I absolutely loved the Grotto. It was quiet, refreshing,there was a little "window" from where you could see if someone is coming..and also a little water cascade with river and another little staires to the other direction.
The theatre was with many graces, but we could enter only to the foyer and see them behind a glass grille.Special group with a guide can go to sit in the back row inside to listen the guide. But in this wonderful DVD you can see the details behind the stage etc.
The temple d'amour was standing somehow plain now because the storm of 99 destroyed the big trees around it. Anyway it is pure, simple and very beautiful.
You can enter la Laiterie, but not the tour Marlborough. They have promised that someday la maison de la reine is reopened. In the ancien colombier there are security staff today. The others cannot be visited . I was having a look inside every possible window, but all I could see was empty, neglected rooms and the wooden staircase of la maison de la reine was in very bad condition and certainly will be rebuilt in the future.
But as you said, it was enough to watch the swans in the lake and breath the air and sit on the grass...

Author:  Pimprenelle [ Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:42 am ]
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Thank you for sharing, Aurora ! It's just as if I was there myself... I hope I will get to Versailles soon, but, even if I live in Brussels, it's not so easy, you know... :cry: I would love to live in Versailles...

I am happy to read that such a wonder as the little theatre is protected, and that tourists are not allowed freely there ! I hope it's the same in the grotto... Could you imagine people making "grafiti" in there ? :?

The first time I visited Marie-Antoinette's hameau, in early nineties, this was just like a noman's land, the whole site seemed dead and ghosty. Of course, I loved it already ! But, now, it's very lively ! We can see farmers and workers walking all around, and families with children. I love to see this place with joyful people !

And I am dying for visiting houses in the hameau ! :D I just can't wait ! Lucky you are, dear Aurora !

Author:  Aurora [ Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:09 pm ]
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Yes, dear Pimprenelle! My first visit there dates back to the middle eighties. Back then we were told that the houses were only as facades and the whole place as something like a stupid "Disneyland", nothing useful or real. Only later I discovered really that the farm was actually producing food and vegetables, cheese etc. for la Reine at her time.
I am also very glad that the staff of Versailles have chosen today to have an educational farm and renovations in Hameau.

Author:  Vivienne [ Tue Jul 11, 2006 4:40 pm ]
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Thank you so much for this delightful thread ..... I am really enjoying reading it.


Author:  CrY [ Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:20 pm ]
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I haven't the plausure to visit versailles yet, but I want to organize a travel. I would like to visit all the places, versailles included :lol: I HOPE!!

Author:  Aurora [ Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:32 pm ]
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I almost forgot to mention about la chapelle de petit Trianon. It was open from a balcony to go inside. I was amazed to see how modern and simple it looked. Very similar to our nordic churches dating from that period late 18th century (le style gustavien). Only an altar, big windows with a lot of light, plain greyish white walls and a simple altar. The two statues beside the altar were added later, I remember by Louis-Philippe.
La Chapelle était très èmouvante. Nothing resembled the baroque chapelle of the main château..

Author:  Therese [ Fri Jul 14, 2006 2:26 pm ]
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I am so grateful that they fixed everything up there at last. Thank you, Aurora, for all of your wonderful descriptions. For years, I did not even know that she had a chapel at Petit Trianon, until once when I was there, I saw the steeple, and I said, "Oh, she had a chapel!" It was closed; I never saw the inside. The chapel was actually built by Louis XV for la Pompadour or La Barry, probably La Barry, who was more religious, believe it or not. There had been a painting in there of Saint Louis and his queen, praying for a child (they had early infertility problems and the marriage was almost annulled), but someone must have taken it away.

Yes, the hameau was a working farm, and the queen, when she went to see how things were running, would but on an apron and simple attire (she could not very well walk around a farm in a court dress) and so people to this day accuse her of "masquerading" as a dairy maid, playing make believe, like a child.

Author:  Aurora [ Fri Jul 14, 2006 4:20 pm ]
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Dear Therese, in the chapelle there is still one painting above the altar. I don't know if it is the same you mentioned, it is by Joseph-Marie Vien: Saint Louis et Marguerite de Provence visitent Saint Thibauld,from 1774.
Outside the chapel there is a clock that gives the hours, it was working and with pleasant bell sound.
In bulletin Versalia n09/2006 of Revue de la société des amis de Versailles there is among other interesting articles a good description about the farm and it's journey to the present day.

Author:  Therese [ Fri Jul 14, 2006 4:40 pm ]
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Yes, Aurora, that is the exact painting! I am glad it is still there! Thank you so much!

Author:  Archiduque [ Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:15 pm ]
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Les descriptions du Domaine de la Reine sont trés emouvantes! Ce serait si beau aller à Versailles! Maybe some day, I hope. Lucky most of you are nearer than me here in Argentina, so whenever you go you could share your experience with all us Antoinette's Court here

Author:  Aurora [ Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:04 pm ]
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Thank you for your kind words dear Archiduque!
To me living in Argentina sounds also very interesting. Isn't it wonderful that we have admirers of Marie Antoinette from all over the world, every continent! Vive la Reine!

Author:  janet fauble [ Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:33 pm ]
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I have never been to the Chateau du Versaille yet. :cry: But I hope to get there soon. I am writing this just to say how much I liked the post that gave such a great description at what it is like to visit there. I really appreciate that kind of good news. It would be helpful to me for some advice on how to dress, and what to expect. Is it casual? What kind of shoes? Walking? Do I need a special ticket to enter? Etc. Thanks a lot. Jan

Author:  Aurora [ Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:33 pm ]
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You can find the information from the official website
Walking shoes could be fine for Versailles is a big area.
Tenue correcte, but casual OK.

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