Dreamy Tower in La Domaine de Marie Antoinette

Dreamy New Year

Happy New Year! The following scene is from La Domaine de Marie Antoniette on the furthest corner of the Palace of Versailles. My hope for you all (and for me) is a year full of happiness, excitement and wonder. Dare to dream…you never know what might come to pass!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 12 October, 2011
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 48° 49.1563′ 0″ N 2° 6.7855′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/500s
  • Title: Dreamy Tower in La Domaine de Marie-Antoinette

Rustic Arbor in The Queen’s Hamlet, Versailles, France

Old Arbor in Fall

This arbor is located in The Queen’s Hamlet in a far off corner of the Palace of Versailles. A place of extreme indulgence, an escape of Marie Antoinette. The small space on the vast expanse that is the Palace of Versailles quickly became my favorite area and one of my favorite historic sites we visited in France. It seems silly really, that a queen would dream for the “Providential Life“, but then her dreams weren’t based in reality, but rather a farcical version wholly indicative of the excess of Versailles. It was fall when we visited and the arbor vines were almost completely dormant for winter, but no doubt, they will be resurgent in the spring.

Photo Technical Info

A French Provincial Cottage

Playing Peasant

Oh the odd, odd life of a Monarch. Heavy, it is said, is the head that wears the crown, but perhaps it isn’t all bad. Sure you have to have food tasters because you are scared someone will poison your food, but you also get to build the old world version of an Amusement Park in your back yard. This is one of the cottages in Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet at the Palace of Versailles. She went here to get away to the simple life. You know, in those peasant houses designed for entertaining. Peasants don’t need sleep after all.

The Fountain of Saturn

Speaking of Versailles

On Monday I posted a photo of Salon Dorado and said how much it reminded me of Versailles. I was working on some photos this weekend and one of them happened to be of the one of the many fountains in the gardens at Versailles…The Fountain of Saturn. It was out of commission while we were there, but I was still intrigued by the slightly grotesque nature of the work.

Palace Grounds

Big House

The thing that impresses most (at least for me) at Versailles is the vastness of the complex. There are multiple palaces scattered around the grounds for as everyone knows the queen and the mistresses cannot reside in the same house, no matter how large. Regardless of infidelity as the king of a major country you also need to be able to get away from the main court to a much smaller and more intimate group. After all when you think about how some numbers put the number of nobles alone residing at the palace near 1000 people with some 3000 servants, there were a LOT of people milling about. We came up through the Orangerie and I was blown away by the scope of the palace. I wanted to capture the vastness of the building, how it goes on and on.

A Planter at Versailles

Angels and Demons

I am not sure what this guy (woman?) is supposed to be honestly. I used to be decent at various myths, but I am at a loss with this one. Somehow he was important enough to display in the gardens surrounding the palace at Versailles. I still don’t know what it is about this planter that caught my interest. Perhaps its the way he is perched like a handle on this pot atop the head of some other mythological creature that caught my eye. Regardless, he (or she) is forever captured for all to see.

The Main Palace at Versailles

Golden Opulence

It is truly staggering how much funding monarchs have. The Palace at Versailles is the perfect example of the excesses of power; its beauty and seductiveness as well as its darker side. The site was originally a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII, then was later expanded by the same monarch to a ch√Ęteau. Major construction bringing the palace up to the scope it enjoys today didn’t occur till the reign of Louis XIV and was accomplished in multiple stages (or building campaigns). It is an incredibly overwhelming complex of palaces. If you are in Paris, I highly recommend this day trip. Enjoy the wonderful romp though France’s decadent past! As a side note, yes that is actually gold (leaf) on the roof. If you find that impressive, you should see the inner gate!

There Must Be More Than This Provincial Life

Disney Dork

Ok…I freely admit, I have a soft spot for the Disney movies of my younger years (and not so younger years). The Hamlet, located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles was built for Marie Antoinette’s strange desire to experience the common life of a peasant. This distinctly reminded me of a particular Disney song…can you guess which one? I kept milling about taking photos of the great little village singing like the proverbial idiot. Good things we were there early and it was just us. The baker wasn’t even up yet, with his tray (like always).

Strange Surroundings

This is one of the odd homes built in the Hamlet. The village consists of a working farm, vineyard and several buildings representing a small French Provincial village. The proportions are, however, very wrong. If you happen to glance inside, the rooms are built more for entertaining than real living. Another example of the fabled…”Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (let them eat cake) attitude of the French aristocracy. As a side note, there is actually not real evidence that Marie Antoinette ever uttered those words.

A Path to the Palace

The Path

While at Versailles we did quite a bit of walking. You can’t really help it…well you can rent a golf cart, but that didn’t see very regal or fitting. One of the many paths to the various palaces can be seen below.

Hugging Trees

I love the simplicity of the trees at Versailles. They are placed simply, but with great purpose and intent. Control of nature is one of the many reoccurring themes of Versailles. You can see it all around. The monarchy was in control of all things (until that whole revolution thing happened).

Entering the Temple of Love

It’s Almost Valentine’s Day

Not that I am oblivious or anything, but Pamela asked me what HDR photo I was working on and I said one of the shots of The Temple of Love. “Oh,” she said, “for Valentine’s Day!” Right! Valentine’s Day! In retrospect, it was probably some sort of subconscious observation that put the holiday together with the temple at Versailles dedicated to love.

History of Love

The Temple of Love was commissioned by Marie Antoinette to be part of her Hameau (place, often a rural area). It is made of marble and contains a dozen Corinthian columns that support the structure. In the center is a statue of Cupid, (the Roman god of love, desire, and erotic love) fashioning his bow from the club of Hercules. Marie Antoinette fancied the life of the peasants. Well, she rather fancied some aristocratic washing over of how wonderfully simple it must be to be a peasant. She didn’t actually fancy being poor or doing manual labor… that was far beneath her. She built a fantasy playground at the Trianon Palaces this temple is but one of the amusements of the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette.