House Tour: Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon

Name: Marie Antoinette
Location: Versailles, France
Size: A "small" chateau
Years lived in: 1774 - 1792

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Not your average Apartment Therapy house tour, but one we've been looking forward to sharing none the less - our photos of a peek inside one of the more remarkable residences we've ever visited; Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon. It may have been that our eyes had gotten used to the look of excess from touring Versailles all morning, but somehow this home, while certainly lavish, felt quite modern and almost subtle...

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....in its decor and architectural details. The gold accents were at a minimum and the decorative plaster work motifs were mainly white on white. The paint colors used throughout (repainting was underway when we were there - the rooms are in gorgeously well-kept-up condition) are soft and chalky, with just a hint of color mixed with lots of white. The ceilings are soaring with chandeliers suspended from them and the numerous, tall windows allowed for plenty of natural light. The entryway floor is checkerboard marble but the private rooms of the apartment are warm parquet wood.

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We loved the decorative touches throughout - the doorknobs and doorpanels were all gorgeous, the plasterwork meticulous, the mirrors aged perfectly. The color scheme in the main sitting room felt incredibly fresh - the raspberry and white damask used for both the furniture and incredibly long drapes would be right at home in a current room.

The design direction, scale and "feel" of this home was so much more contemporary than the overwhelmingly ornate Versailles that we immediately fell for this "small chateau" and could understand how it was was a wonderful escape for the young queen from the pressures of court life.

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From the Wikipedia entry on Petit Trianon:

The Petit Trianon is a small château located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France. It was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel by the order of Louis XV for his long-term mistress, Madame de Pompadour, and was constructed between 1762-1768. Upon his accession to the throne in 1774, the 20-year-old Louis XVI gave the château and its surrounding park to his 19-year-old Queen Marie Antoinette for her exclusive use and enjoyment. The château of the Petit Trianon is a celebrated example of the transition from the Rococo style of the earlier part of the 18th century, to the more sober and refined, Neoclassical style of the 1760s and onward. The exterior of the château is simple and elegant, architecturally correct, and highly original.

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Images: Janel Laban

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.