Thursday, April 14, 2011

Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet

For all the grandeur that the Palace of Versailles has to offer there is something much more quaint and rustic that appeals to our beauty seeking souls. It is the Norman styled Hamlet, Hameau de la Reine, designed by architect Richard Mique for Marie Antoinette between 1873 ~ 1787 as a place for her to escape the daily rigors of court life.  



There are a total of eleven houses that surround the Big lake. Five of the buildings were regularly used by the Queen and her guests. They included the Queen’ house, billiard room, boudoir, mill and refreshments dairy. The remaining four homes were for the working staff and included the farm and its annexes, the barn, the dovecote and preparation dairy. The farm was located just outside the village and contained eight cows and a bull, ten goats and several pigeons.



Each house came with its own complete garden. Crops such as cabbage, cauliflower and artichokes were grown. Most of the gardens were surrounded by hedges and chestnut trees. Small orchards of apple trees and cherry trees were also planted.



Climbing plants such as roses, grapes and wisteria covered the walls of the houses and on arbors to create shade on certain paths.



The Malborough Tower, named for the Duke of Marborough, was the point of departure for boat rides or fishing outings to catch pike or carp .



The Queen’s house is the most important building  located in the hamlet. It is comprised of two separate buildings joined by a wooden gallery, decorated with white and blue earthenware flowerpots with Marie-Antoinette’s monogram. The ground floor featured the dining and billiard room. The first floor contained a large living room, a small living room, a Chinese room and a private apartment.



The Queen’s small house, known as the boudoir, features a thatched roof, a lean to, charming staircase and the back is surrounded by a closed garden.



The Mill was built at the edge of the lake and its wheel was used to grind the grain and also featured an interior laundry.



Again the staircases and balconies of the building featured rows of earthenware pots containing hyacinths, wallflowers or geraniums.



All of the cows, goats and sheep were brought to the farm from Switzerland. Various cheeses and cream were manufactured in the Preparation Dairy, which was destroyed under the First Empire. It was located across from the Refreshments Dairy which thankfully, still stands.



As to the hamlet’s historical significance, it was here that guards found the Queen and informed her she would be imprisoned and tried for treason. Sadly, the trial did not end well for her.



Happily her vision of simple beauty lives on.



Shall we visit the Queen’s other playground, Le Petit Trianon, next week?

Andrea and Laura



Linking to:

French Cupboard

French Country Cottage

Common Ground

The Charm of Home

My Romantic Home


Auntie Em said...

Such a beautiful place with such a sad story connected to it. It is so wonderful that it still remains so visitors can still enjoy it.
Thanks for sharing the pics and the story! :)

Revamped French Maison said...

Hi Laura,
I rather enjoyed reading this post. The photos are a peaceful reprieve. If I close my eyes it's easy to imagine living there surrounded by all the natural beauty of the landscape. So beautiful!


Lorrie said...

These photos took me back to my visit to Le Petit Hameau 2 years ago. Such a pretty place. I loved the potagers behind the houses.

Le Petit Trianon is my favorite Versailles feature. Looking forward to your feature of it.

Mom in High Heels said...

This is one of my favorite places to visit. It's just so lovely (and such a surprise after the grandeur of the palace) I try to make sure to go there every time we go to Paris. My mom and I went to Paris together 8 years ago and rented bikes at Versailles. We stopped and had lunch near the hamlet. It's one of my favorite memories. And yes, yes we SHOULD visit Le Petit Trianon next week!

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

What a LOVELY post! Can you just imagine living in such a dwelling. Sigh.
Laura, you words about my sister's shower were SO SWEET, thank you so much.
I missed your macaron video- I will have to try and find it. I am going to buy another pan this week so I will get the exact name for you... hoping to self publish my own little macaron book in the next 12 months I am just so addicted to them! Getting ready to make hundreds for Shop the Shed... wishing you could visit us then!
I should comment more on your blogs but let me say again, they are a joy and the time you put into your posts is so appreciated!!!!
Parisienne Farmgirl

Carol said...

This looks right out of a fairytale!

Liz said...

Oh Goodness! This was my favorite part of Versailles... When we were there we were only allowed to peek in the windows.... Were you able to see more? Do you think that they will ever restore it?

Thank you for the memory! :)


Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi Laura, Thank you for sharing one of my favorite places. The setting is so beautiful I didn't want to leave.

Karen said...

Really lovely and interesting post. The photos are so gorgeous.

Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage said...

Such a charming beautiful place. I loved learning about the history of the place.

sweet european dreams said...

Breathtaking. And, I'm sure that these scenes are even more stunning in person. My camera can never quite capture the true ambiance of Europe! Thanks so much for sharing this - it goes on my list of things to see! -diane

michele at hellolovelyinc said...

absolutely dreamy and swoonworthy. thanks for sharing this at the party!


Shirley said...

exactly what every one has new words can add to each comment. Stunning and beautiful. Maybe my next life will be something like this...


Gorgeous...but what a sad story of such a dreamy place. Thank you for sharing with us the beautiful photographs and the story.
I'm your latest follower,hope you visit and follow, I'll be thrilled!

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

How absolutely fantastic!! Just gorgeous!! Love this post- so much inspiration and beauty!Thanks for sharing this at FNF! :)

Sarah said...

What a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing this information and the gorgeous images. I would love to visit this spot. ~ Sarah

kluless said...

This was a fascinating post, thank you for sharing!!

Piorra Maison said...

What a wonderful post.

Anonymous said...

I'm lost in the fairy-tale like images. These are the places in France that I'd like most to visit.

Your Friend,

Debra@Common Ground said...

I could move right in. Just a beautiful spot. Love the quaint buildings and the idea behind it's construction. Thanks so much for sharing this lovely place with us on VIF, xo Debra

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

I LOVE IT! What a dream! Your beautiful pics make me want to climb in.

Karena said...

Andrea and Laura this is so facinating!! I love the hisory behind this pastural setting in France.

Art by Karena

martinealison said...

Je me suis agréablement promenée dans votre blog et je m'octroierai une prochaine balade...

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice compliment. I love your style. I'm on board with Metis Linens, I want to live inside these pages.

Sherry said...

What a gorgeous place for a Queen to retire. Thanks for linking it up! It is very charming.

d e l i g h t said...

Hello, just found your blog this morning and I'm in love with it! I've been to Paris once and am planning to go back. Your blog brings back so many memories. I am your newest follower. I invite you to visit my blog.

Cindy said...

BEAUTIFUL...thanks so much for sharing!

Emily said...

I feel like I've just finished a wonderful tour. Your photographs were fabulous leaving me wanting more. So, please do take us on a tour of Le Petit Trianon.....

The French Hutch

Patricia Torres said...

This is like being in a fairy tale.. or a dream.. So so beautiful.. and such a lovely lovely post.. :-) Thanks for sharing this.. and hope you come drop by at Colours Dekor

Irma@CosasBellas said...

Wow! I just found your blog and have been scrolling through your posts.
Your pictures, literally, take my breath away. I am now your latest follower and I look forward to visiting again.

Take care Laura,

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

What a beautiful this! Great photos, too!

Katty's cosy cove said...

Beautiful Photos! ~Have a wonderful day~

Suzy said...

I would have wanted to spend all my time here had I been her :-) What a dreamy romantic place...albeit with a sad story attached. I visited Versailles years ago, but didn't get to explore the gardens and beyond. My I missed a lot! Will have to return one day :-)