Photographer's Note

The Marie-Antoinette's estate

The Queen's Hamlet

Marie-Antoinette, seeking to flee the Court of Versailles, ordered the construction of her hamlet in 1783. There, she regularly found the charms of country life, surrounded by her lady's companions. It became a veritable farm, directed by a farmer, whose products supplied the kitchens of the Palace. Under the First Empire, the Hamlet was refurnished with refinement for Empress Marie-Louise

No sooner had the first garden in the area around Petit Trianon been finished than Marie-Antoinette was thinking about creating another, as an extension towards Saint-Anthony’s gate. On this new territory, the Queen developed an aspect started earlier by Louis XV with the Menagerie of Trianon: the taste for rustic style. Between 1783 and 1787, the Hamlet was thus created in the spirit of a true Norman village, with eleven houses spread out around the Big lake. Five of them were reserved for the use of the Queen and her guests: the Queen’s House, Billiard Room, Boudoir, Mill and Refreshments Dairy. While four houses were reserved for the occupancy of the peasants: the Farm and its annexes, the Barn, the Dovecote and Preparation Dairy. The Farm was located outside the village and sheltered a varied livestock: a small herd of eight cows and a bull, ten goats and pigeons. One house was reserved for domestic use: the Warming Room, where the dishes were prepared for the dinners given at the Queen’s House or at the Mill.

Each house had its own little garden, planted with firm and round Savoy cabbage, cauliflower and artichokes, surrounded by a hornbeam hedge and enclosed by a fence of chestnut trees. The banisters of the staircases, galleries and balconies were adorned with blue and white earthenware pots of Saint-Clement containing hyacinths, quarantaine flowers, wallflowers or geraniums. Small orchards of apple trees and cherry trees were planted. Climbing plants covered the walls of the houses and arbours shading certain paths. A swing was built in 1785 for the royal children, and then quickly dismounted. In 1788, a bowls playing area was also created. The Malborough Tower, a sort of beacon towering above the banks of the Big lake, was the point of departure for boat rides or fishing outings.

With the pleasant participation of Internet site of the Castle of Versailles.

In complementary photograph, another point of view on the Marlborough Tower.

A very good Sunday to all.

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Additional Photos by Jean Charles GUEGAN (JCG) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5328 W: 737 N: 9440] (35153)
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