Any excuse to jump on the train to Versailles and last weekend I had three !! I had just finished Antonia Fraser’s Marie Antoinette which I loved, Jeff Koon’s exhibition had just opened and my aunty and uncle were in town and were dying to go. Before we arrived at the Koons exhibition we started in the Dauphin’s apartments and that of Madame Pompadour. Girly madness, white panelled rooms with chandeliers studded with ceramic roses. Rosy cheeked girls stare back at you in every room and everything is dusted in gold. Marie Antoinette’s bedroom just behind the Hall of Mirrors was decked in gold but the king’s was almost more frivolous gold and hot pink. Koon’s was fab, I will post some of those pics soon. We ended the day in the garden. The most perfect of French gardens…. I will leave you with a note from Antonia Fraser’s Marie Antoinette, The Journey !
“Born in 1755, the tiny arch-duchess of Austria was sent to France at 14 to marry the sulky dauphin. She was childless for eight years, for Louis preferred select ladies of the night, hunting and boozing. The little girl grew into first a beauty with a weakness for gambling and later, when Louis XVI had at last done his duty, a loving mother who “preferred domesticity to diamonds”. But she was only too aware that she was sitting on a powder keg of popular resentment at the French aristocracy. Nor did she ever tell the people to eat cake – that “lethal phase” was first uttered by Maria Theresa, wife of Louis XIV. Fraser brings the times to life with wonderful details.