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Versailles’ Private Gardens

A look at Marie Antoinette’s Palace escape—a bright, flower-filled oasis

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During the reign of King Louis XVI and his wife, Queen Marie-Antoinette, the court at the Palace of Versailles was filled with gossipy nobles and required one to retain the highest etiquette. The unwelcoming court atmosphere, in addition to the chaos of the Palace, led the Queen to spend time at her personal hideaway on the palace grounds.

Petit Trianon was a small chateau originally built as a place for the “Sun King,” Louis XIV, to discreetly enjoy extramarital trysts. The chateau was designed in a similar style to Versailles and was surrounded by an array of gardens and several small outbuildings. In 1774, the King presented it as a gift to Marie Antoinette saying, “To you who love flowers, I present this bouquet.” Marie-Antoinette then began to meticulously plan and develop the gardens of her little abode. Her interest in different types of flowers and involvement in Petit Trianon’s gardens popularized gardening all over France and brightened the grounds in which she spent most of her time.

On September 3rd, Flammarion will release Elisabeth de Feydeau’s From Marie-Antoinette’s Garden, offering a fascinating look into the favorite pastime of one of history’s greatest figures. Click through the gallery to take a tour.





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