The Queen’s House will be reopening its doors to the public on 12 May 2018, thanks to patronage from Dior. Located in the heart of the hamlet built for Marie-Antoinette by Richard Mique between 1783 and 1787, the House was in need of full restoration work. Alongside this, it has been refurnished according to its oldest known historic condition, which is as it was designed for Empress Marie-Louise, the second wife of Napoleon I. For the first time in two centuries visitors will be able to discover the extreme refinement of the interior decor of the House and its contrast with the picturesque bucolic appearance of the exterior.
ESSENTIAL RESTORATION ACCORDING TO THE ORIGINAL DESIGN
The restoration of the Queen’s House and the Warming Room, located nearby, had become all the more necessary since their state of dilapidation prevented them from being open to the public.
The project, launched in 2015, involved cleaning and full restoration of the stonework, framework and roofing. The structures have been strengthened to allow guided tours while the flooring, woodwork and paintwork have been restored according to descriptions in the 18th-century work logbooks, or according to the arrangements made in the early 19th century by Empress Marie-Louise, the wife of Napoleon I and the last person to live here.
The restoration of the Warming Room – an outbuilding containing a kitchen and service areas (pantry, silverware, sideboard, vegetable garden and bread oven) used to prepare meals served in the dining room of the neighbouring Queen’s House – recalls the functioning of the Hamlet and life here during the Ancien Régime.
The replanting of the gardens and surrounding area of these buildings puts the finishing touches to the operation. It restores the Hamlet’s landscape design, as had been previously done in the 1930s, combining its condition when it was replanted for Marie-Louise in 1810 with a few references to the layout for Marie-Antoinette, such as the spiral staircase and vegetable gardens.
AN EXCEPTIONAL REFURNISHING PROJECT
The restoration of the interior decor and refurnishing of the main rooms in the Queen’s House and the Games House were a major part of this operation. Two hundred years after the fall of the Empire, these places have rediscovered their refinement designed for Marie-Louise and the deliberate contrast desired by the French sovereigns between rustic “shabby” exteriors and interiors of mind-blowing luxury.
Masons, joiners, carpenters, thatchers, electricians, heating engineers, painters, gardeners… All types of tradesmen (or almost) have taken part in this operation led by Jacques Moulin, Head Architect for Historic Monuments. From cabinetmakers to silk suppliers, trimmings suppliers, upholsterers, ancient textile restorers, leather workers, bronze workers, sculptors and gilders, multiple artistic craftsmen have contributed to the success of the project, managed by Jeremiah Benoit, Head Curator at the Palace of Versailles in charge of the Palaces of Trianon. Once again, the high-level expertise of French craftsmen has been brought to the fore.
A NEW MUSEUM
Over the past few years the improvement of the Estate of Trianon has been a priority for the Palace of Versailles. The full restoration and refurnishing of these spaces, begun in 2008 with the Petit Trianon and continued in 2016 with the presidential apartments in the Grand Trianon and then the Queen’s House in 2018, showcases these unique locations that evoke the intimacy of the monarchs. The Palace of Versailles is constantly opening new doors to its visitors.
Thanks to the major patronage of: