Maison de la Reine Reopened
I’ve been to Versailles twice but didn’t make it to Le Hameau on either trip. The recently renovated and reopened Maison de la Reine will make it a first priority on my next visit. Marie-Antoinette had Le Hameau built by Richard Mique from 1783-86 as a place to escape court life and host small gatherings. The rustic exteriors of the buildings concealed their richly decorated interiors in which to host her guests.The working farm was used as an educational place for the royal children and for walks and not as a place for pretend play as has been reported.
After the Revolution, the building fell into disrepair until Napoleon ordered a full restoration from 1810-12. The farm and dairy could not be saved and were torn down. It was John Rockefeller who helped further restore Le Hameau in the 1930’s. Restorations continue to happen and in 2006, the farm was restored. Thanks to the generosity of Dior, the Maison de la Reine, Queen’s House, has had an extensive restoration from 2015-18 and just reopened to the public this past weekend.
Because so much furniture was lost during the Revolution, the interiors were renovated into the style of Empress Marie-Louise, the second wife of Napoleon I, who was given the house by her husband. An inventory of Parisian cabinetmaker Jacob-Desmalter from 1810 remained preserved so they were able to recreate pieces made for Marie-Louise.