Marie-Antoinette's hamlet to reopen

26th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

VERSAILLES, France, June 26, 2006 (AFP) – Marie-Antoinette's newly-restored pastoral paradise tucked away amid the opulence of the Versailles château was inaugurated on Monday before re-opening to the public at the weekend.

VERSAILLES, France, June 26, 2006 (AFP) – Marie-Antoinette's newly-restored pastoral paradise tucked away amid the opulence of the Versailles château was inaugurated on Monday before re-opening to the public at the weekend.

The renovated hamlet, where the young queen sought to escape the rigid protocols of the French court, provided the backdrop for several scenes in US director Sofia Coppola's film 'Marie-Antionette' which premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival.

On Monday, Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres inaugurated the building, which dates from 1783 and has taken four years to restore at a cost of some three million EUR.

The public will get the chance to view the hamlet complete with its farmhouse and dairy where the queen and her friends would milk docile, newly-washed cows and gather eggs from July 1.

It was here that Marie-Antoinette sought to taste rural life far from the confines of the court, and where even her husband Louis XVI had to ask permission to visit.

The theatre where she performed on stage has also been renovated along with the English garden, replanted with its original herbs after being damaged in the 1999 storms which tore down some 3,000 trees in the château's gardens.

The Temple of Love as well as the Grotto from which the queen fled on 1789 as the French Revolution reached the gates of Versailles have also been restored.

The managing director of the president of the Swiss watch company Suisses Breguet, Nicolas Hayek, said the company was going to put up some five million EUR to restore the building known as the Petit Trianon, which became Marie-Antoinette's country mansion.

Entry to the newly-restored estate will be free on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and then cost nine EUR after.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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