Marie Antoinette’s Cozy Weekend Hideaway

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On your next trip to Paris be certain to visit Le Petit Trianon, on the grounds of Versailles. It is a fascinating chateau that has just been reopened after a significant renovation. Marie Antoinette used this “cottage” as her escape from the formality of court life. Louis XV originally built it for his mistress Madame de Pompadour in 1762. She died before it was finished, but his next mistress, Madame Du Barry, was a sometime resident. In 1774 20-year-old Louis XVI gave the chateau and it’s surrounding gardens to his 19-year old Queen Marie Antoinette for her exclusive use. No one was permitted to enter without her express permission (even Louis). She created a “working farm” (the servants did the work). A table in the dining room was designed to be raised and lowered through the floor so the servants below could serve without being seen; the idea was to create the illusion that the informal aristocrats were on their own. Makes the storming of the Bastille a bit easier to understand, doesn’t it?

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