elliefreckles visits Versailles
I’ve always been captivated by Marie Antoinette, despite the legendary “let them eat cake” quote I envisage her as a naive young girl. Perhaps a little silly, vain or selfish, but essentially a young girl who had all the world’s temptations set before her. When I visited the Palace of Versailles on a day trip I was awed by the overwhelming decadence. It’s so beautiful, yet at the same time it’s difficult to comprehend the extent of the luxury; so much gold, intricate detailing, detailed paintings, sculpture after sculpture, treasures lined up one after the other. From a privileged perspective it’s impressive, but the French peasantry outrage becomes understandable too. The extravagance is rampant.
Interestingly, Marie Antoinette’s more private getaway that she styled herself, the Petit Trianon has a simpler beauty to it. White instead of gold, and quaint yet plain flower patterns give the quarters a refined country flavour. When visiting the Petit Trianon I imagined a young girl living n her idealised fantasy world where she could revel in a glamourised mother role. In the comparatively more simplistic interior designs I saw the desire to be free of the complexities of the royal world.
In extension history we were taught that people’s compulsion to view history through narratives distorts the past as it really was. As a result the histories we learn are merely stories, with a few grounding facts. In my opinion this isn’t necessarily something to be shunned, the real people of the past will always captivate our imagination.