The Queen’s HamletThe Queens Hamlet (Hameau de la Reine) is a rustic retreat in the park of the Château deVersailles built for Marie Antoinette between1783 and 1787 near the Petit Trianon in theYvelines, France. Designed by the Queens favoured architect, Richard Mique, and with thehelp of the painter Robert Hubert, it contained a meadowland with lakes and streams, aclassical Temple of Love on an island with fragrant shrubs and flowers, and an octagonalBelvedere, with a neighbouring grotto and cascade.The twelve cottages constructed in the hamlet can be divided into two groups: five werereserved for use by the Queen; the other seven had a functional purpose and were usedeffectively for agriculture. Marie Antoinette had her own house, connected to the pool.Nearby was her boudoir. The mill and the dairy received frequent visits from the Queen.
The Queen’s House and Billiard RoomThe Queens House is located in the centre of the hamlet. It is joined by a woodengallery to the Billiard Room and upstairs apartment. The Queens House has adining room and a games room on the first floor and a large and a small livingroom, and a Chinese room on the second floor.
The Boudoir, (4.6 x 5.2 metres) to which Marie Antoinette retired alone, was originally nicknamed "the Queenslittle house". It is a living room and wardrobe for the Queens use.The Warming Room (the Kitchen and Bakery) is recessed at the rear of the Queens house. It was used toprepare the dishes for dinners given by the Queen in the house or mill.The Mill, built and fitted from 1783 to 1788, was never used for grinding grain, contrary to what is oftenargued. The wheel is driven by a stream derived from the Grand Lake and is only a decorative element. Nomechanism or wheel were installed in the factory. The interior decoration was simple and neat.The Marlborough Tower (The Fishery Tower) is a lighthouse used for sending signals to the Palace ofVersailles. Boating parties set off from this tower and fishing equipment was stored here.The Dairy. Initially, there were two dairies: the "Preparation Dairy" which produced creams and cheeses, islocated near the tower. It was where the milk was skimmed and the butter beaten. In the second dairy, the Queentasted the dairy products from tables of veined white marble supported by fourteen carved consoles andarranged around the room.
The Temple of Love was built in 1778 and situated in thefar end of the Versailles garden between the Petit Trianonand Le Hameau. It was built with white marble andconsists of columns, friezes and a circular dome.
THE FARMThe Farm was set apart from the hamlet because it was a functioning structure, ratherthan a play house.The Housekeepers Cottage is located at the waters edge.The Barn was used as a ballroom. It was badly damaged during the French Revolutionand destroyed during the First Empire.The Dovecote. The dovecote and pigeon coops were near the lake. Roosters and hens ofdifferent species were brought from the west of France and settled in the aviary in 1785.
Marie Antoinette, bornan archduchess of Austria,was Dauphine of Francefrom 1770 to 1774 andQueen of France and Navarrefrom 1774 to 1792.She was the fifteenth andpenultimate child ofHoly Roman Emperor Francis Iand Empress Maria Theresa.
Images and text: InternetMusic: Mozart-Piano Concerto #20 in D Minor K466 (Romance) Adriana
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