Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Marie Antoinette Estate
"Let them eat cake." -- Marie Antoinette
My favorite thing to see in Paris was the Palace of Versailles. And more so, Marie Antoinette's little hamlet that she had built for her and her children.
In April 1770, (at the age of 15) on the day of her marriage to Louis-Auguste, Dauphin of France, Marie Antoinette subsequently became Dauphine of France. Marie Antoinette assumed the title of Queen of France and of Navarre when her husband, Louis XVI of France, ascended the throne upon the death of Louis XV in May 1774. After seven years of marriage, she gave birth to a daughter, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte, the first of four children.
Initially charmed by her personality and beauty, the French people generally came to dislike her, accusing "the Austrian" of being profligate and promiscuous, and of harboring sympathies for France's enemies, particularly Austria, since Marie Antoinette was, after all, Austrian.
At the height of the French Revolution, Louis XVI was deposed and the monarchy abolished on 10 August 1792; the royal family was subsequently imprisoned at the Temple Prison. Nine months after her husband's execution, Marie Antoinette was herself tried, convicted of treason, and executed by guillotine on 16 October 1793.
Even after her death, Marie Antoinette is often considered to be a part of popular culture and a major historical figure, being the subject of several books, films and other forms of media. Some academics and scholars have deemed her frivolous and superficial, and have attributed the start of the French Revolution to her; however, others have claimed that she was treated unjustly and should have more sympathetic views towards her.
The queen occupied herself with the creation of the Hameau de la reine, a model hamlet in the garden of the Petit Trianon with a mill and 12 cottages, 9 of which are still standing. The Hameau was one of Marie Antoinette's contributions to augmenting the chateau at Versailles and it can to this day be viewed by the public. Its creation, however, unexpectedly caused uproar when the actual price of the Hameau was inflated by her critics.
I loved her little hamlet and all of the charm it held. I could understand, after seeing so much grandeur in the palaces, why she would love her little retreat. The gardens were beautiful, the homes charming.
"I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long." -- Marie Antoinette
We are now at home, so any photos I post will be the ones I finally have time (and faster internet) to edit and post.