The Petite Trianon was given to Marie-Antoinette by King Louis XVI so
that she could distance herself from court life a bit. Not content with
merely that, Antoinette decided to downsize even further and had a
hamlet created that included a farm, cottages, and a mill. I think that
it is one of the supreme ironies of history that a Queen of France, living
at a palace complex greater than perhaps any in the world, would have
preferred to spend at least some of her time with the chickens and sheep
in Rousseauian simplicity rather than in royal grandeur. The only modern
equivalent I can think of would be if Bill Gates were to suddenly move
into a cheap motel and start flipping burgers at a local diner in order
to soothe his soul.
No matter what some may say about her, no matter how steadfastly she
tried to protect her husband's throne and her childrens' futures, it is
good to know that in her own way Antoinette chose to throw a healed
shoe at one of those Great Deceptive Mirrors that exist so beautifully
at the Palace of Versailles.
The Queen's farmhouse, Versailles.