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Marie Antoinette’s Private Rooms at Palace of Versailles Now Open for Tours


At the Palace of Versailles in France, members of the public may once again step behind the gilded paneling of the Queen’s State Apartment and into the two-story suite of rooms used by Marie Antoinette as her private chambers starting in 1774. 

Overlooking an inner courtyard, the rooms include a boudoir, a library, a billiards room, and other spaces evincing the queen’s signature more-is-more aesthetic. 

(Credit: © Château de Versailles / T. Garnier)

According to the Guardian, the apartment is said to be the very spot where the last queen of France “first hid during the people’s march on Versailles” that ended with Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, and their children vacating the premises during the 1789 French Revolution. The royal couple were later arrested and eventually had their heads separated from their shoulders. 

The private chambers have been off-limits to tourists for more than 5 years while the rooms have undergone an extensive restoration to make the suite look as lavish as it did during the queen’s reign. 

A parlor known as the Méridienne chamber is outfitted with mirrored alcoves and lilac-hued textiles. The Gold Room has silk wall hangings and so many golden arabesques, medallions, and curlicues you half expect to find boxes of classified government documents lying around. 

(Credit: © Château de Versailles / T. Garnier)

A press release from the Château de Versailles claims that painstaking archival research has gone into re-creating the place’s late 18th-century interior design, which was overseen by the queen herself, whose “demanding and impatient” orders to alter the apartment to her extravagant taste sometimes “sparked disapproval” from royal architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel. 

The restoration is intended to evoke something of the private life of the royal household, showing off reupholstered furnishings and objets d’art in rooms where the queen spent time with her friends and children. The 1-hour tour also goes through servants’ quarters, a dining area, and receiving rooms. 

(Credit: © Château de Versailles / T. Garnier)

The reopening of the inner sanctum earlier this month was timed to coincide with the 400th birthday of the Palace of Versailles, which dates to 1623. Trianon and the queen’s hamlet of cottages set apart from the palace have also been restored as part of the same project. 

A guided tour of Marie Antoinette’s private chambers costs €10 ($11), but can be purchased for a reduced amount in conjunction with tickets for other attractions at the palace. Go to the official website for more information. 

(Credit: © Château de Versailles / Sébastien Giles)

Related: A Peek Inside the Only Hotel at the Palace of Versailles

 



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