Petit Trianon

Like a Palladian villa, the Petit Trianon is perfection of architecture. Nestled on the grounds of Versailles, the Petit Trianon was built by Louis XV from 1762-1768 ( don't you always need to use the roman numerals for the french kings, haha ) first for his Mistress Madame du Pompadour and later after her death for Madame du Barry ( to whom i'm distantly related! ).

The architecture is Neoclassicist that at the time was taking hold over the formerly popular rococo style. As precise as a calculated formula, strict rules were followed for porportions and the Corinthian 'orders' of decoration. This was then set into a 'natural' english garden. The plan of the building is square similar to the other 'perfect' neoclassical building, the Villa Rotunda by Palladio.
When Louis XVI took over the throne when his grandfather died, he gave the jewel to his wife, Marie Antoinette in 1774. Marie used the petit trianon as a refuge from court life ( which she hated ) and to escape with her friends into a world of flowers and fun. Even her husband the king wasn't allowed except by invitation!In the movie 'Marie Antoinette' (which you can read a bit about in my posting on the subject) you see Kirsten Dunst channeling Marie and having dinner parties with friends, roaming its gardens with her daughter and lounging with lovers in the secretive interiors ( she had mechanical mirrors installed as 'blinds' to keep people from peering inside ). The privacy was so intense that even servants couldn't observe her as the dining room table came up through a hole in the floor and they weren't required to serve the meal!
some interiors at P.T.; notice the lack of gilding on the boiseries leaving it simple and elegant .
All these interior photos were taken on the Piano Nobile ( the main floor with largest windows ) and it leaves me to wonder what the spaces are like on the top floor -whether they are similar or even more simple. All the lighting is from lanterns because the globes protected the candles from the open windows. No chandeliers here, function first! This was mainly a summer-time retreat, although Marie Antoinette was a year-round occupant, spending more time here than with court at Versailles up the street, especially after giving birth to her 2nd child.the stair hall with lantern

The Petit Trianon has been copied and referenced endlessly, and recently this 'copy' sold for $20 million!!!! It's sort of tacky and right on a city grid, but goes to show that everyone ( good taste and not ) appreciates the Petit Trianon!The bad copy -but nice landscaping
One of my prized possessions is an antique book about 200 pages thick and a huge coffee table size that has detailed drawings of all the plans, elevations, interior elevations and details of the millwork. I'll have to scan some of these in to post at a later date. The Petit Trianon is currently being renovated ( from profits from renting it out for the movie perhaps? ) and its contents have been in San Francisco and I'm so disappointed I never got to see them there. Hopefully one day soon I'll be able to visit and see them in their own restored home. a garden pavilion on the grounds of the petit trianon

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