Marie Antoinette’s Retreats

The Petit Trianon

The Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s “little” house in the gardens of Versailles was originally built for Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV between 1762-68. In 1774, Louis XVI gave the house to Marie Antoinette. She spent a great deal of money redesigning the house to suit her tastes (a beautiful blend of Rococo and Neoclassical). As time passed, Marie Antoinette began spending more and more time at the Petit Trianon. It was an escape from the formality and structure of court life which she so detested. At the Petit Trianon, all was “de par la Reine” (by order of the Queen), meaning that it was her private domain. None (not even Louis XVI) were permitted to enter the property without the Queen’s express permission.

Marie Antoinette designed the gardens around her little home in the French and English styles. The French tended to be far more semetric and plotted, while the English was more of a “wilderness” style.

Also within her domain, Marie Antoinette had a small village built called Le Hameau de la Reine (the Queen’s Hamlet).

Cottage in Le Hameau

Built between 1783-1787, the Hameau contained the Queen’s house, several farm houses, a dairy, and a mill. Here, the Queen and her friends would play “milkmaid,” milking specially selected (and cleaned) cows as well as collecting eggs and other farm activities.

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