Petit Trianon welcomed Marie-Antoinette in 1774. She made it her favorite place of residence, far from the splendor of the Palace of Versailles.
A gift to Madame de Pompadour
The Château du Petit Trianon was built by Louis XV as a gift to Madame de Pompadour. The famous favorite of the king will not have had time to live there, having died before its finalization. It was Madame du Barry who inaugurated this small palace in 1768, after the 4 years it took the architect of King Ange-Jacques Gabriel to build it. Gabriel is a well-known architect, since we also owe him the Place de la Concorde in Paris or the Ecole Militaire. It was at Trianon, in April 1774, that Louis XV suffered the first attacks of smallpox, which killed him a few days later, leading the young Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette to ascend the throne.
The château des femmes
The Petit Trianon is then offered by the new monarch to his wife. It was in 1774 that Marie-Antoinette moved to the Petit Trianon, after dismissing Madame du Barry. From then on, the small castle will be forever associated with the queen in the French imagination. The Petit Trianon will be the “Château des femmes”, where the wives of the sovereigns of France establish their residence. Its relatively small size, more intimate, greatly pleased Marie-Antoinette, who was thus freed from the duties of the Court. It is a square building, largely inspired by Antiquity. During its construction, the fashion was Neoclassical, this style wanting to recreate the glories of Antiquity, brought up to date. We thus prefer the purity of the lines, the columns and the pilasters of Corinthian order, the harmonization with nature.
Transformed into a inn
At the time of the Revolution, the Petit Trianon was transformed for a while into an inn, while the gardens only narrowly escaped housing estate. Napoleon then restored the whole area to its former glory, restoring the castle and gardens, first for his sister Pauline, then for the Empress Marie-Louise, his second wife. Later, the Château was made available to the Duke of Orléans, eldest son of King Louis-Philippe. Finally in 1867, Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, transformed the Petit Trianon into a museum dedicated to the memory of Marie-Antoinette. She even organized the first exhibition ever devoted to the queen.