André Malraux and the restoration of Trianon 1962-1966

As General Gaulle once confided to André Malraux: “Versailles, it took some doing; let’s not compromise on the grandeur”. With this in mind, the Minister of Cultural Affairs took on the project of restoring the Grand Trianon between 1962 and 1966.

André Malraux, Minister of Cultural Affairs from 1959 to 1969, launched the full restoration of the Grand Trianon in the 1960s, refurbishing the South Wing for guests of honour of the Republic and reserving the Trianon-sous-bois wing for use by French heads of state. André Malraux and Jacques Duhamel evoke the restoration of the Grand Trianon in their book, Grandeur et misère du patrimoine: “It is a major task, since modern comforts must be installed in a building with no telephone, heating, kitchen, bathroom [...] in 1963 the work intensified with a commission from the presidency of the Republic for an additional suite of apartments reserved for the head of state. It was decided to install these new premises in the Trianon-sous-bois Wing”.

After the work was completed, General de Gaulle preferred to receive prestigious guests in Trianon rather than at the Élysée, formerly Mme de Pompadour’s Parisian residence, affirming that “a queen’s residence seems more dignified than that of a mistress”. The comment was more humorous than historically accurate.