Saturday, 24 September 2011

Versailles - Le Grand Trianon part 2

Lillian : We had a lovely time in the gardens with all the pretty tulips then went back inside the Grand Trianon building to see some of the rooms on the other side of the 'Peristyle' -  The Grand Apartment and the Round Room with it's marvelous floor ...

and a lovely chandelier ...

Audrey :  There were lots of lovely chandeliers - can you imagine how they would have twinkled with all the candles lit and flickering?

Lillian :  Even the way the chandeliers are hung from the ceilings is gorgeous ... 


Lillian :  This was The Music Room until Louis-Philippe converted into a billiard room.

Audrey :  Look where the billiard balls come out!


Audrey :  And there is a room with lots of things made of gorgeous green stone -

Lillian :  It is malachite, from Siberia.  The king of Russia, Tzar Alexander I gave Napoleon the malachite in 1808 and lots of lovely things were made from it.

Audrey : The Grand Trianon is quite Napoleonic - the official website calls this room The Emperor’s Topographical Study  -   "in 1810 Napoleon made this his map room". 
This is a lovely light-filled room with elegant furniture, green curtains and here is a close up of the lower part of a chandelier ...

Lillian :  We were intrigued by this wonderful folding set of steps - when closed it would look like a piano stool with a padded seat.  Quite ingenious!

Audrey : Talking about stools, remember all the stools lined up - they were pink with wonderful bobble fringing

Lillian :  And if you look closely (click on the photo to see it larger) that central medallion on the sides of the seats, it is a bee.  Napoleon Bonaparte took the bee as one of the symbols of his empire but there is some debate as to why

"The Bee Symbol of immortality and resurrection, the bee was chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France."
Because an up-side-down fleur-de-lis looks like a bee ... 
Because bees are symbolic of industriousness. 
It was an adaptaiton of Charlemagne's bee.  
perhaps the ancient insects were not actually bees but cicadas or crickets or maybe even flies!

Audrey : Yuk - enough already!  Perhaps Napoleon liked honey - perhaps he ate too much honey and it gave him belly aches and that is why he was always holding a hand against his tummy ...

Lillian : This is The Cotelle Gallery - it is were the last of the Versailles peace treaties was signed - after WWI.

Audrey :  It is a lovely long room, with lots of paintings of the palace grounds and gardens as they were in 1687.  The gardeners try to make everything look as they did back then, when they were new.  Talking about gardens, we went out of the Grand Trianon to see the gardens behind the building ...

Lillian :  Quite formal with lots of statuary ...

 large urns with babies on top
Audrey : And busts of important people - this gentleman has a big head like a Blythe doll.

Lillian : We will leave this post with one last photo of those lovely tulips in Le Grand Trianon gardens.  Next post will be our last of Versailles.

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