Wednesday, August 26, 2009

London & Paris: Fit For A Queen

My husband and I recently took a trip to London and Paris. It was the first time in London for us both and the first in Paris for me. We're both total history nerds and loved it all! I'd have to say that Paris was my fav and Versaille my favorite site. I love, love that time period and most of all my girl Marie Antoinette.

 Now Marie is notoriously attributed to uttering the phrase "Let them eat cake!" Supposedly saying this after being informed that the people of Paris were starving because there was a widespread shortage of bread.

There is actually no record of these words ever having been spoken. The phrase was first printed in the book The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, an autobiography. 

"Finally I recalled the worst-recourse of a great princess to whom one said that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: "Let them eat brioche..."

The book was written in 1769, Marie Antoinette arrived in Versailles in 1770, a fourteen year old princess- long before Rousseau or anyone knew who she was.          

I suppose she was attributed to saying this phrase because of her over the top, lavish lifestyle when France was in financial dire straits. At the time, many attributed everything wrong with France to the Queen and her spending. Ultimately, her spending was the tiniest tip of the iceberg of what was really wrong with France and it's monarchy.

Enough about the history... let's talk about how fab her style was!

Marie had two palaces given to her by her husband King Lous XVI, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon. Each were used as entertaining palaces. She also built herself a beautiful home called Hamlet. My favorite by far was the Grand Trianon.

The Grand Trianon is made of fab pink marble!

This was her drawing room. Gorgeous fabrics, furniture, candelabras and chandeliers.

Marie was a fun gal. She loved to play pool and gamble with the boys! 
She was notorious for gambling for days on end!

The wedding bed where their marriage was famously NOT consummated.

Portrait of Marie Antoinette

Don't worry.....I loved the decor of every room but I don't have pink walls and gold furniture in my house. I just love that she was bold and brazen and did not let the prescribed gender roles of her time constrain her. She decorated her homes with her style and not what was typically in style during that time period. I think that even today it all still works. Obviously over the top but she was a Queen for God's sake.

The gorgeous open air breezeway/corridor connecting the two wings.

 The main palace, Versailles was also amazing, breathtaking and beyond words or comprehension. If you're ever in Paris it is definitely worth the train ride and 2 hour wait in line for tickets! Yep, we (or shall I say my husband) waited in line for that long but it was definitely worth it!