Thursday, September 24, 2009

The French Pavilion

As anyone who has read my blog for awhile knows, I've had an obsession with the Petit Trianon since childhood. It is a perfect example of the beginning of my favorite architectural style, Neoclassicism. The palace and grounds have a fascinating history and are just an all around beautiful place. Well, nothing I had read or seen prepared me for what I saw here: unimaginable beauty.These pictures are not of the Petit Trianon, as you no doubt know: this is the French Pavilion in the gardens.Completed briefly before the Petit Trianon, this pleasure pavilion was designed by the same architect, A.J. Gabriel, as an escape from the formality of Versailles for Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour. However, Pompadour passed away before it was completed in 1769 and it was subsequently enjoyed by Madame du Barry (the family connection) and later by its' most famous inhabitant, Marie Antoinette.Even today, visiting the gardens of the Petit Trianon are a breath of fresh air compared to the pomp and crowds of Versailles. Each of the out buildings had a specific purpose (so organized!). The French Pavilion was a place to have lunch in the formal garden (there was a seperate pavilion for dinner). The English styled gardens, a favorite of Marie Antoinette, came later and currently inhabit the rest of the grounds. This area alone remains as a jewel of formal French gardening (well, and a majority of the grounds of Versailles!).This is no simple little cottage though;rather a miniature palace. Notice the gilded shutters inside the french doors, the beautiful carving and the little cherubs on the roof keeping watch over visitors (wouldn't that be a clever place for surveillance cameras?In the center of the interior is a large round room with an enormous ornate lantern. No table or furniture is in place so you can admire the beautifully inlaid marble floor. The painted walls are the perfect shade of romantic green.Look at that beautiful old wavy glass in the lantern! The porcelain roses connect you to the gardens outside. There are 4 small chambers off the center room -unfortunately visitors can't go inside and I wasn't able to get a good look. These photos were taken through the windows.The Pavilion lies at the end of a vista from the salon of the Petit Trianon . This axis is an example of the formal style of gardens favored under Louis XV. This style really focuses on the view - both in a garden axis such as this and an enfilade inside, such as seen in Versailles.I hope you enjoyed this small tour. I decided to break the seperate areas of Versailles into smaller posts as there is so much to see and process!

17 comments:

Francine Gardner said...

I truly enjoyed the tour, I have not been near Versailles in ages burt as you, tucked away from the grandiose palace, i would much rather walk around the petit trianon and the "hameau'
Thank you for the beautiful images

Cote de Texas said...

so gorgeous! finally! I've been waiting for this - let's get this show on the road. that lantern is so gorgeous and that marble floor! I can't wait to see more.

pve design said...

When we went last year, all I could think about was how much someone like yourself would appreciate this spot. I am so happy that you visited this while you were in France.
pve

Renee Finberg said...

thank you.
i loved your tour. it was almost as if i were there with you.

i would have given anything to have been a fly on the wall back in the days of the marie and du barry.

xxx

Terry said...

Good way to start a Thursday morning. I like comparing the gravel side verses the grassy side.

Karena said...

The beauty, the history, it is breathtaking. Thinking of Marie Antoinette there just gives me chills!

The Matters of Style Girls said...

Thank you for the mini-tour. I have never been out to Versailles, but next time I am in Paris it is a must-do day trip.

home before dark said...

No wonder you have chosen to live and work in DC! The neoclassical style resonates with its confidence and purity...and then just when you think it's all of that the door opens and smacks you on the head with over the top grandeur. Nice photos. What camera were you using?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Thanks, HBD. Just a canon powershot that is 7 years old -time for a new one (it's literally held together with tape! lol).

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Terry,
the grass is in the formal garden, a good 20' away from the building. As per traditional french building techniques, no grass or plantings actually touch the building itself -only gravel.

Spencer Howard said...

Beautiful proportions. Thanks for sharing!

+Spencer
The Architectural Antique Review

Summer is a Verb said...

So torn...am I coming back as Gwyneth Paltrow or am I coming back as Marie Antoinette? Decisions, decisions...XXOO

Laura [What I Like] said...

How wonderful! I love the idea of having a spot specifically dedicated to lunch in the garden...if only...

YSLGuy said...

Great pictures. I can't wait to get there someday myself.

Toby Worthington said...

Thank you, Stefan. The best thing that could have happened to your devoted readers, was your journey to France.

Landscape Designer said...

Finally!!! Yes, Versailles is visual overload. Good idea to serve it up in sections.

Oh how I would love to be reading your posts on Paris with a cup of tea and some Laduree macaroons!!!

Sandra

Anonymous said...

Have you seen some of the Petit Trianon "knock-offs"?
There is one in Greenwich, CT, another in San Francisco and one in Pasadena, CA that was quite horizontal and did not have the proportions of the original. Needless to say, the interiors of these buildings were nothing like the original.