The Queen's House

The key feature of the Hamlet, the Queen’s House, has been completely restored and refurnished. It consisted of two distinct buildings linked by a gallery, the billiard house to the left and the queen’s house to the right. Discover this unique place where two women have left their mark, Queen Marie-Antoinette and Empress Marie-Louise.

Billiard House The queen's House Dining room Yellow Salon Bedroom Billiards room White salon Boudoir

The Queen’s Hamlet is somewhat like a stage set and when it was designed and built it was never expected to last more than a decade or two. The fragile constructions did not stand up well to the ravages of time and a succession of restoration projects have been carried out to maintain them.

Between 2015 and 2018, the Queen’s House and the Warming Room underwent a major restoration project. The work entailed stabilisation of the structural parts and complete restoration of the masonry, framework and roofing. Some of the most impressive aspects of this operation are the restoration of the interior decor and refurnishing of the Queen’s House.

The refurnishing involved returning items originally commissioned for the Queen’s House. As the furniture selected by Marie-Antoinette was scattered during the Revolution, it is the furnishings commissioned for Empress Marie-Louise in 1810 that are today being returned to the Queen’s House.

The style of Marie-Louise’s furniture and decoration is fairly similar to Marie-Antoinette’s. Both are characterised by great elegance, although there was a stronger emphasis on Antiquity in Marie-Louise’s decoration. The large yellow salon, the centrepiece of the Queen’s House, perfectly illustrates the imperial elegance of the time of Marie-Louise.

The Queen's House

Yellow Salon

Audio transcript

The yellow salon is the most remarkable room of the Queen's House! This large salon gets its name from the colour of the painted silk wall hangings put up for the Empress, Marie-Louise. At the time of Marie-Antoinette, the rooms on the first floor were decorated with golden cornices, white marble fireplaces and walls hung with silk. It was a great honour to be received in this very private place, one which was reserved for those closest to the sovereigns. In this room, they could be served light meals, listen to or play music with a harp or a harpsichord brought to them from the Petit Trianon.

Wall hangings

The yellow silk patterned wall hangings were created by the famous decorator Antoine Vauchelet and delivered to the Empress in 1810. Today, the Imperial effect of the yellow salon comes from copies of the panels, made in 1957. Vauchelet invented the technique of hand-painted silk velvet, which he used to decorate the chairs in the salon. The original pattern of a bouquet of flowers can still be seen in the watercolour drawings made by the decorator for the upholsterer, Darrac.

Dining room

Audio transcript

The dining room is the main room on the ground floor of the Queen's House. The various meals were prepared in the warming room and enjoyed by the Queen and her guests in the dining room.

The Queen's House was built like a miniature château. The service rooms, reserved for servants, were on the ground floor, while the first floor hosted the nobility in elegant ceremonial salons.

Furniture

Most of the original furniture has been reinstated in accordance with the 1810 inventory, although some pieces are equivalents. The furniture for the Empress Marie-Louise was commissioned from Jacob-Desmalter, a highly acclaimed Parisian woodworker. He designed the chaise-lyre, which was very fashionable in the late 18th century.

Bedroom and clothes storehouse

Audio transcript

Under the reign of Marie-Antoinette, this room was used for tric trac, a very common board game in the late 18th century. It was also used as a bedroom. While the queen did not spend the night at the Hamlet, she could go there to rest.

The bedroom led to the clothes storehouse. In the time of Marie-Antoinette, the costumes at the Trianon were very simple and the Queen and her friends never wore court gowns. The ideal apparel for a walk around the Hamlet was the “en gaule” dress. This lightweight white dress, with a low neckline and fitted waist was something of a revolution in the Court.

Furniture – chaise longue

Marie-Louise’s chaise longue is typical of the furniture in the Hamlet, understated and comfortable. It is covered in a fabric embroidered with water lilies, designed by contemporary artist Paul-Armand Gette. The green colour matches the armchairs. The armchairs still have their original silk, specially restored for the occasion. With their rosette and star patterns, they are an exceptional example of the style of the French First Empire.

Marie-Antoinette style

© RMN Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) Gérard Blot

Chair, circa 1785, V 5808

This chair was delivered by craftsman Georges Jacob (father) around 1785 for the dining room in the Queen's House. Its overall appearance is one of lightness and delicacy, which was characteristic of the style at the time of Queen Marie-Antoinette. Solid mahogany complements the green Morocco leather and gold nails on the seat. The legs are in the form of columns and the back is shaped like a lyre. Georges Jacob was the inventor of lyre-shaped seat backs, a form that remained fashionable throughout the French First Empire. 

Marie-Louise style

© RMN Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) Christophe Fouin

Chair, circa 1810, T 4699

This chair was commissioned from Jacob-Desmalter for Empress Marie-Louise. The craftsmen working for Marie-Louise came from the same line as those who worked for Marie-Antoinette. Although almost similar in essence, a difference in style can be seen in the details between the two chairs. Here, the front legs are composed of double balusters with a ring in the middle. The rear legs are sabres, which was a typical form during the French First Empire. The overall appearance of this chair is more rigid and less intricate, a clear example of the Empire style.

Billiard House

Billiards Room

Audio transcript

This ground-floor room was entirely dedicated to billiards, a game exclusively for men at the time. The Queen's House was a place for summer leisure, where the sovereigns could rest, receive guests, enjoy meals, or play. During the winter, all furniture was removed, to prevent its deterioration. Restoration work has cleaned the building, so that the furniture can remain on-site permanently.

Furniture

The billiards table, a 2006 copy of Louis XIV’s table, is surrounded by oddly-shaped seats. These are billiards seats, which have been raised by a footstool. The other chairs date back to the time of King Louis Philippe and feature the same Empire style as those from the 1810s.

Small white salon

Audio transcript

The understated wall hangings and Marie-Louise’s sophisticated purpleheart furniture give the small white salon an intimate, elegant feel. At Trianon, Marie-Antoinette wanted simplicity, becoming an almost “normal” hostess for her guests. In her memoirs, Madame Campan, the Queen’s housekeeper, wrote: “She would come into her salon and the women would carry on playing the piano or working on their needlework, and the men would carry on with their game of billiards, or tric trac.” 

Furniture item + wing chair

All the furniture in the small white salon is original. Here, the objects clearly come from the Empire style, and are more understated than Louis XVI’s style. The bergère chairs, with their soft lines, are covered with the same fabric as the wall hangings, playing on the elegance of tone-on-tone.

Boudoir and also bedroom

Audio transcript

The boudoir used as a bedroom is one of the most intimate rooms of the Queen's House. In 1837, the Hamlet became the holiday home for the family of the King of the French, Louis Philippe. Several commodities were put in place, and a Toilette Room was installed, making the Queen's House more comfortable.

Bed unit

In the 1960s, the bed in the room was painted blue and placed in a bedroom in the Grand Trianon, which, at the time, was the presidential residence under Charles de Gaulle. According to the 1810 inventory, the bed was restored and stained yellow to match the small table made of lemon-tree wood. The room is covered in an aqua-green ribbed fabric, a tightly-woven textile.

Guided tour

Queen's Hamlet

Tour in French

Queen's Hamlet

Tour in French

Jean Cotelle (1646-1708)
Des jardins et des dieux

Du 12 juin au 16 septembre 2018 au Grand Trianon

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