"ON THE STEPS OF MARIE-ANTOINETTE." Top 5 Page for this destination Versailles by breughel

Versailles Travel Guide: 781 reviews and 2,943 photos

Le Grand Versailles - Restoration campaign.

I wanted absolutely to go back to Versailles now that the project of “le Grand Versailles” i.e. a large restoration campaign not only of the castle but also of the various buildings of the Domaine of Marie-Antoinette and the gardens devastated by the storms of 1990 and 1999 is almost completed.

There are at Versailles two inspirations: the male inspiration of grandeur from King Louis XIV and the female inspiration for intimacy from Queen Marie-Antoinette.

Having recently read the biography of Marie-Antoinette by Stefan Zweig, a book from 1933 but still fascinating, I tried to follow in these palaces the life of this socialite and extravagant Queen whose brother, the emperor Joseph II of Austria, said that she was a "tête à vent" a head with wind.

I was lucky to be there on the day of opening of the Petit Trianon, after its restoration; what touched me most was that small artificial cave in the gardens behind the Petit Trianon. The small cave has nothing nice, but it was there in the afternoon of October 5, 1789, that Queen Marie-Antoinette was informed about the march on Versailles by the Parisian rioters.


Je voulais absolument retourner à Versailles maintenant que le projet du "Grand Versailles" c'est-à-dire une grande campagne de restauration non seulement du château mais aussi des différents édifices du Domaine de Marie-Antoinette et des jardins dévastés par les tempêtes de 1990 et 1999 est presque achevée.

Il y a au domaine de Versailles deux inspirations celle masculine de grandeur du Roi Louis XIV et celle féminine et d'intimité de Marie-Antoinette.

Ayant lu récemment la biographie de Marie-Antoinette par Stefan Zweig, livre datant de 1933 mais toujours passionnant j'ai essayé de suivre en ces lieux le parcours de cette Reine mondaine et dépensière dont le frère, l'empereur Joseph II d'Autriche disait que c'était une "tête à vent". C'est ainsi que Marie-Antoinette la perdit.

J'eus la chance de visiter le Petit Trianon le jour de l'ouverture après sa restauration mais ce qui m'a le plus touché c'est cette petite grotte artificielle, qui n'a rien de joli, mais où la Reine apprit la marche sur Versailles des émeutiers Parisiens.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Read my intro page and reviews, you'll see I'm enthusiast.
  • Cons:I don't want to write anything about "cons" as in French this word is not polite.
  • In a nutshell:I would love to be able to reduce Versailles to 1 line but I can't.
  • Last visit to Versailles: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated Mar 12, 2011
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Reviews (35)

Comments (12)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Oct 10, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    A wonderful page! I learnt a lot about Versailles from your pages and enjoyed your photo's.
    I wish my experience was like yours. Alas, too many people, too much noise and some ignorant people whose manners left a lot to be desired, didn't make it a very memorable experience! At least my experience reading your pages has been a good one!

    • breughel's Profile Photo
      Oct 12, 2013 at 2:11 AM

      You are right especially at the 17th c. galleries, part of the Palace circuit, the visit is chaotic because the thousands of visitors pass from one room to another by relatively narrow doors. Moreover groups listening to the explanations of their guides do slow down the visitors flow.
      Therefore I largely prefer the Grand and Petit Trianon.
      I must say I visited twice Versailles and I am not tempted to return.
      If some day you visit Castile, Spain, visit the Spanish Versailles Aranjuez near Toledo and La Granja de San Ildefonso near Segovia. You will appreciate beauty and quietness.

    • balhannah's Profile Photo
      Oct 12, 2013 at 2:32 AM

      I would like to! The more Spanish pages I read, the more I want to go to Spain. Thanks for visiting New South Wales.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Me again, coming back to read your recent updates on this fine page.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    What an excellent page! I'm so glad that seeing Brenda's comment brought me here :-) I visited Versailles as a teenager, loved it but was probably too young to fully appreciate all that I saw. You've made me realise I should visit again, next time I'm in Paris. Meanwhile I thoroughly enjoyed my virtual tour with you :-)

    I especially like the sound of the care that has gone into the restoration of Le Petit Trianon, and the approach taken - "to give the impression that the queen has just left, that the house is still impregnated of her presence"

    • breughel's Profile Photo
      Sep 12, 2012 at 7:07 AM

      Hello Sarah, thank you for appreciating my Versailles page. The restoration campaign of “le Grand Versailles” (mainly sponsored by private companies) makes it worthwhile to return to Versailles even if in season and WE the Château is overcrowded.
      As the second phase (2012-17) of restoration concerns the Grands Appartements I wonder what will be the effect on the tour of the main Palace. Anyway there is so much to see at the other parts, plus the Grand and Petit Trianon that one day visit is rather short.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    That’s a funny song the children used to sing about King Dagobert. (I have just looked it up and found that there are lots of verses. The king dies at the end and the devil comes running.) I see that you have updated nearly all of your Versailles tips since I last looked at this page in 2009. I am rather puzzled about the use of the observation balloon in the Battle of Fleurus in 1794, since the observers in the balloon had no radio or other means to report their observations to the officers on the ground.

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Apr 22, 2011 at 2:46 AM

    Much more to see here, Eddy! Will be back often - beautiful!!

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    I have been here 4 times-and still more to see and your pictures and commented helped. Good presentation

  • Jerelis's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2009 at 2:16 AM

    Great page, with wonderful pictures and 5-star tips! Amazing that you're writing it in English and French ... well done!

  • septem's Profile Photo
    Jun 18, 2009 at 11:31 AM

    Hi, Wonderful pages with wonderful images. Have a lovely day. Juliana

  • Jefie's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2008 at 4:18 AM

    Très intéressant les miroirs au mercure! Et je suis d'accord pour les fontaines, nous avons choisi d'éviter les foules du weekend alors nous avons manqué ce spectacle, pourtant quelques heures par jour suffiraient à faire plaisir aux visiteurs...

  • Nov 11, 2008 at 5:28 AM

    Très bons commentaires et de plus en français!


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