PARIS: The chateau of Versailles will reopen the private rooms of Queen Marie-Antoinette as part of its ongoing 400th anniversary celebrations.
The restored apartments will reopen to the public on June 27, featuring 100 square metres of luxurious living space where France’s last queen played with her children and received friends.
It is the final part of a restoration of the Queen’s Hamlet and Trianon, a series of cottages and getaways built away from the main palace.
It gives a “new understanding of history, with this paradox between public and private life, etiquette and intimacy, an extraordinary summary of history within a few square metres,” said Catherine Pegard, who runs the palace.
The palace, which welcomed nearly seven million visitors last year, dates to late 1623 when King Louis XIII ordered the expansion of a small hunting lodge on the 800-hectare site.
“This anniversary is primarily aimed at expressing the continuity of history at Versailles for these past 400 years and to show that we will continue to open and restore (parts of the palace) and bring them to life,” said Pegard.
Marie-Antoinette’s apartments include a boudoir, library and billiard room. She accessed the refuge through a secret door hidden in her official bedroom.
The palace is also preparing a new gallery dedicated to its history, to open in September.
“At Versailles, the work never ends,” said Pegard, who has overseen a wide array of restorations since taking over in 2011.
These have included the Buffet d’eau Fountain, the apartments of Louis XV’s son, the Dauphin Louis-Ferdinand, as well as those of his favourite mistress, Jeanne Becu or Madame Du Barry.