Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Cat at Versailles

An interesting photograph one of the stray cats who calls the grounds of Versailles home!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekly Roundup

A weekly roundup highlighting some interesting Marie Antoinette (/Versailles/18th Century/Related) news and posts from around the web!

Tidbits and Treasures

Friday, April 11, 2014

Perfumes to Channel Your Inner Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette loved perfumes. She not only dabbled perfumes on her person, but ordered perfumed gloves for her hands, perfumed satchets for her rooms and even her baths. Her love of fine scents was probably influenced by the fact that 18th century Versailles was a smorgasbord of smells--both wonderful and worrisome, due to the amount of people (and animals!) frequenting Versailles at any given time. To escape these overwhelming smells, Marie Antoinette not only filled her rooms with fresh blossoms, but also used perfumed products to keep herself--and her apartments--scented to her liking. She was particularly fond of floral scents, such as those which included notes of violet, rose, tuberose and orange blossom.

While none of Marie Antoinette's beloved perfumes are in production today, her influence can still be found in many modern perfumes. The following are five irresistible perfumes inspired by Marie Antoinette, her favorite scents, and her beloved Trianon retreats. Why not order some samples, dab on a luxurious scent, and imagine yourself in the company of the famous queen of France?

DSH Perfumes: Eau de Trianon

 DSH's Eau de Trianon (available as an eau de toilette and a perfume) is inspired by the notes from one of Marie Antoinette's favored perfumes created by the famous Jean-Louis Fargeon. It contains notes of rose de mai, tuberose, jasmine with additional floral, green and woodsy scents. Eau de Trianon is a soft, creamy floral with a wistfulness to it that makes me think of a solitary stroll in an open garden--elegant but still springlike and never too cloying.  

  • Top Notes: Bergamot, Espirit de Fleurs d’Orange, Galbanum, Lemon
  • Middle notes: Centifolia Rose Absolute, Gallica Rose Otto, Grandiflorum Jasmine, Jonquil, Moroccan Rose Absolute, Orris Concrete, Orris Root, Tuberose Absolute, Violet Leaf Absolute
  • Base notes: Ambergris, Atlas Cedarwood, Siam Benzoin, Vanilla Absolute 

Historiae: Bouquet du Trianon
Historiae's Bouquet du Trianon, created by Bertrand Duchaufour, is a "bouquet" of Marie Antoinette's favored scents. Like her beloved Petit Trianon, the Bouquet du Trianon scent is a blend of various flowers and natural scents, including tuberose, rose and lemon. Bouquet du Trianon is a noticeably layered scent that is very reminiscent of a walk through an English country estate--it begins with a bright and fresh meadow-like scent, gradually blossoms into a country garden, before ending on a wispy note of natural woods.

  • Top notes: lemon, bergamot, mandarin, galbanum, mint, freesia, blackcurrant bush leaf 
  • Middle notes: tuberose absolute, ylang ylang, beeswax absolute, rose, honeysuckle 
  • Background notes: vetiver, patchouli, amber, musk, sandalwood, cedarwood

Historiae: Hameau de la Reine
Historiae's Hameau de la Reine, also created by Bertrand Duchaufour, is described by Historiae as taking the wearer to the "heart of the Queen's Hameau." The scent includes bright green notes of tomato and fig leaf along with traditional florals like rose and peony. Hameau de la Reine truly feels like a walk through a hamlet, with a natural woodsy scent that is soft enough to let the underlying flowers to shine through like fragrant ivy climbing up a cottage.
  • Top notes: bergamot, blackcurrant bud, tomato leaf, fig leaf
  • Middle notes: rose, galbanum, peony, geranium, mock orange, ivy
  • Background: notes: vetiver, patchouli, white wood, musk, honey 

 Lubin: Black Jade
Lubin's Black Jade comes with a colorful--if dubious--history, which can be read here for those interested. Regardless of the truth behind its origins, Black Jade is a perfume rich in extravagant florals preferred by Marie Antoinette--roses and jasmine mingle with warm vanilla and cinnamon, creating a luxurious feminine floral that is perfect for evening wear and other formal events.
  • Notes: Galbanum, bergamot, cardamom, rose, jasmine, incense, cinnamon, Indian sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, tonka bean, amber 
 L'Artisan Parfumeur: La Haie Fleurie du Hameau

L'Artisan Parfumeur's La Haie Fleurie du Hameau, created by Jean-Claude Ellena, is inspired by the flowers which bloom at Marie Antoinette's beloved hamlet. La Haie Fleurie du Hameau is a true floral bouquet which with vivid notes of jasmine and honeysuckle. The perfume is rich in floral notes but still remains light; the effect is reminiscent of a garden stroll through the Petit Trianon on a breezy spring day.
  • Notes: jasmine, orange blossom, narcissus, ylang-ylang, honeysuckle, vanilla and oakmoss.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekly Roundup

A weekly roundup highlighting some interesting Marie Antoinette (/Versailles/18th Century/Related) news and posts from around the web!

Tidbits and Treasures

Friday, April 4, 2014

'All depends on the right beginning for the day...'

Although Marie Antoinette was not extensively prepared for her life as the dauphine of France--the fast-track tutoring she received in French, history, etc., was more like an 18th century cram session than a proper education-- Maria Theresa did not neglect to write her daughter 'rules to be read every month,' which contained advice and instruction intended to help Marie Antoinette adjust to her new role. Part of this advice included instruction on how Marie Antoinette should begin her day, immediately after waking:
'... When you wake up, you will immediately upon arising go through your morning prayers on your knees and read some religious text, even if it is only for six or seven minutes, without concerning yourself about anything else or speaking to anyone. All depends on the right beginning for the day and the intention with which you begin it, for it may change even indifferent actions into good, praiseworthy ones.' [translation: Olivier Bernier, Secrets of Marie Antoinette]
It does not seem that Marie Antoinette followed this advice too strictly--she writes in a later letter, also dated 1770, that she says her morning prayers after she has been dressed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A promotional still for Madame du Barry (1934)

[credit: my scan/collection]

A promotional still from the fabulous (though sadly, not available on DVD) Madame du Barry (1934); starring Dolores del Rio as the titular Du Barry. In this still, Marie Antoinette (played by Anita Louise--who went on to play the princesse de Lamballe in MGM's Marie Antoinette) confronts the king and his mistress, with Mesdames in tow.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekly Roundup

A weekly roundup highlighting some interesting Marie Antoinette (/Versailles/18th Century/Related) news and posts from around the web!

  • A post from Art Media Agency about a new "living canvas" exhibition by Ygal Ozeri, titled Revolution at Giverny: A Return to Women in Nature. The exhition "brings together two strong symbols of France’s history: Monet and Marie-Antoinette." The exhibition will be performed at the Grand Palais in Paris from May 24 - June 26th, 2014.
  • A new article from the New York Times about recent productions from the Opera Lafayette, an opera company who has been performing lesser known 18th century French operatic works; they recently performed in the Opéra Royal at Versailles. 
  • The Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago has announced that a production David Adjmi's Marie Antoinette will be part of their 2014-2015 season.

Tidbits and Treasures
  • The Chateau de Versailles official Facebook posted a photo gallery with pictures of the restoration of the Latona Fountain marble
  • A engraving of the duchesse d'Angouleme represented as a figure of Charity on posted Treasure For Your Pleasure.
  • Lilith et Adalia has premiered a series of one-of-a-kind chidren's dresses inspired by Marie Antoinette and 18th century fashion.