Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My own little larkspur

I was browsing the garden section of the supermarket this past weekend and I came across packet of flower seeds that looked very familiar--larkspur! Larkspur, known in France as delphinette, was one of Marie Antoinette's favored flowers; in addition to being specially planted in the French garden of Versailles, it was featured in numerous portraits of the queen, typically as sprigs in vases.

My fledgling garden certainly won't be able to touch the grandeur of Versailles, but I have hopes that my larkspur will bloom into something beautiful in the upcoming months!

For further enjoyment, I've cultivated some lovely vintage larkspur seed packets from The Label Man, a website which specializes in vintage labels and advertisements.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekly Roundup

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

  • The Art Newspaper: The Louvre will be reopening its thirty-five 18th century room galleries on June 6th after renovations which took nearly a decade and cost €26 million.
  • The Globe and Mail: Jean-Baptiste Lully's opera Persée will be presented this May at the Royal Opera of Versailles for the first time since 1770.
Tidbits and Treasures

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.