Sunday, 21 August 2011

The end of our lovely day in Le Domaine de Marie-Antoinette

Lillian :  Having said au revoir to all the farm animals and Marie-Antoinette's gorgeous Hameau we walked to The Rock and the Belvedere Pavilion.  A quirky contrast between the contrived 'Natural' and a very classical building.
Audrey :  And there were geese!

Lillian :  Yes, they are Canada Geese ...
Audrey :  You mean French Canadian Geese?
Lillian :  Ummm, perhaps they are descended from the ones sent by the explorer Samuel de Champlain as a present for King Louis XIII. 

 Audrey :  Sigh!  There were such a lot of Louis.   But near that Rock business we found a whole lot of purple wild flowers.

Lillian :  My favourite colour!


Lillian :  This small entrance with the Ionic columns is the doorway to Marie-Antoinette's theatre. 
Audrey :  Wow, that lady had everything - her own pretty Hamlet, her own little Farm and her own Theatre!
Lillian :  Well she was the Queen of France.
Audrey :  And in the end she had everything but her head - I think I'd rather have my head.  Though it would be nice to have our own little theatre to rehearse in, especially if it were as pwetty as Marie-Antoinette's.

Lillian :  Those photos are rather yellow but our photographer does not use flash when inside museums and old places as the light can cause deterioration.
Audrey :  There is MA on the shield thing over the proscenium arch so we know the theatre belonged to Ma.
Lillian :  Don't be naughty, you know MA was for Marie-Antoinette.
Audrey :  Wouldn't that back-drop be pewfect for a production of Cinderella?

Lillian :  Outside there are lots of formal gardens, the French Gardens - very beautiful with all the spring flowers.
Audrey :  Those are tulipes blanches in French.  
These bright flowers have a funny name - fritillaries - sounds like something very fattening to eat but these flowers are supposed to be difficult to grow.

Lillian :  They are Fritillaria imperialis.


Audrey :  At the end of those gardens is another lovely building, but look at those straight trees looking like soldiers on parade.  This article has some amazing statistics about the gardens, including :
Number of trees: 200,000
Flowers planted annually: 210,000

Lillian :  That building is The French Pavillion - built in 1750 for Louis XV.
Audrey : Oh, too many Louis!  Let me think; Louis XIV was the Sun King and XVI lost his head so XV ... wasn't he King for a very long time?
Lillian : Yes, well done Audrey.  Louis XV reigned for nearly 59 years.
Audrey : Was he the one with the interesting girl-friends?
Lillian :  Ahuh, Mesdames de Pompadour and du Barry.

Audrey :  This building is so sweet and pwetty, it was getting new paint - and such nice shades of green.
Lillian :  That is the Cool Pavilion ...
Audrey :  I agree - it's a really Cool Pavilion ...
Lillian : Well, perhaps that is a misleading translation - in french it is Le Salon frais.  It was a dining room where the products from the dairy and vegetable gardens could be enjoyed.
Audrey : Oh, frais = fresh as well as cool ... like the Crème fraiche we had for desert, often, very nice.

Lillian :  The original pavilion was destroyed - this is a reconstruction.
Audrey : How wonderful that they've rebuilt it - I do like all that trellis work and the baskets on the top - so delicate.

Lillian :  A bit like our feet after all the walking that day ...
Audrey :  We found a lovely old willow tree and had a nice sit down.

Lillian :  Do you know, we've done 8 posts just on the first day we spent at the Chateau de Versailles.
Audrey :  Oooo that is a lot, I guess we had a lot of photos to show everyone - it IS such a beautiful place.
Lillian :  Next post we'll start showing off the photos from the second day in the grounds of the Palace.
Audrey :  That was The Day of The Fountains.

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