Versailles: A Useful Hobby Of Louis XV

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Versailles: A Useful Hobby Of Louis XV
Versailles: A Useful Hobby Of Louis XV

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Video: Meet the mistresses of Louis XV at the Palace of Versailles 2023, January
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Beginning in the article Versailles: Royal Recreation Areas

Trianon as a scientific and entertainment complex of Louis XV

Louis XIV was so in love with the gardens of Versailles that he himself wrote a guide entitled "The manner of showing the gardens of Versailles." The guide does not describe the objects to be visited, but gives a detailed itinerary for viewing the gardens of Versailles. To appreciate all the beauty of the park, the guest was asked to walk about 8 km on foot, making 25 transitions and the same number of stops. In 1704, Louis XIV wished "that all gardens and fountains should be accessible to the general public."

Versailles. Alley at Trianon
Versailles. Alley at Trianon

Versailles. Alley at Trianon

Versailles. Trianon
Versailles. Trianon

Versailles. Trianon

The great-grandson of Louis XIV, the young Louis XV, who inherited the throne in 1715 at the age of five, was transported by the regent Philip of Orleans to Paris. Versailles in the absence of the king ceased to be the object of close attention and fell into decay. The Trianon was periodically used as a residence for guests and relatives of the king. Here in March 1717 Peter I stayed, who paid a visit to the young Louis XV during his trip to Europe. Seven years later, in 1722, the young king returned the court to Versailles.

The availability of royal estates did not go to the benefit of the park and palace. Laundresses eventually took possession of the Swiss pond, kitchen waste and manure from the nearby stables were thrown into the Neptune basin (built in 1738-41), statues and vases were mutilated, the lathing of the bosquets was broken, the lead pipes feeding the fountains were partially plundered. Any neatly dressed person could enter the park and palace, including thieves and even intruders like Damien, who attempted on the life of Louis XV. The park urgently required attention and care.

Louis XV saw his task in the preservation and restoration of the previously created and did not plan any global construction campaigns. He did not inherit from his great-grandfather a ruinous passion for construction, his attention was absorbed by the natural sciences, so fashionable among the aristocrats of that time. Interest in them was fueled by his favorite - the Marquise Pompadour. The secluded palace of the Trianon attracted the king's attention as a possible platform for the realization of his interests. In addition, the heir to the sun king disliked the publicity of royal life according to the strict etiquette of the great ancestor, and the isolation of the Trianon made it possible to create a semblance of private life. The palace was renovated and put in order, Louis XV and the Marquis of Pompadour occupied the apartments of the sun king and Madame Maintenon.

The first new building of Louis XV in Trianon was the New Menagerie, built in 1749 by the royal architect A.-J. Gabriel (French Ange-Jacques Gabriel; 1698-1782). It was named the New Menagerie to distinguish it from the old Menagerie of Louis XIV, which was located at the southern end of the transverse axis of the Grand Canal. At one time, the transverse axis of the channel itself was dug specifically so that it was convenient to sail by boat from Trianon to the old Menagerie.

Charles Perel Menagerie. Engraving
Charles Perel Menagerie. Engraving

Charles Perel Menagerie. Engraving.

The Old Menagerie was built on the site of a farm that had been supplying food to the palace since 1663 and, in fact, was a model farm. Its layout was thought out by the architect Louis Levaux (fr. Le Vau, Louis, c. 1612-1670): around the central octahedral pavilion, from where one could observe all the surrounding sectors, 7 corrals for various farm animals and birds diverged like a fan. At first, the Menagerie was used to observe animals and breed new breeds. Exotic animals appeared here only at the end of the 17th century, after the menagerie in Vincennes was destroyed. Then ostriches and pelicans "migrated" to Versailles. So the idea of ​​a perfect farm at Versailles attributed to Marie Antoinette was not new. True, before her, none of the royal family tried to play the role of a commoner.

The new menagerie was a complex of buildings that included a cowshed, a dairy farm, a sheepfold, a poultry house, a dovecote and a chicken coop. There were no wild and exotic animals in the Menagerie, it was inhabited exclusively by peaceful thoroughbred farm animals. Everything is in the best traditions of the sun king.

Versailles. French garden
Versailles. French garden

Versailles. French garden

Between the dairy farm of the New Menagerie and the Marble Trianon, there is a small, regular French garden. In 1749-50. by order of the king, in the middle of the garden, Gabrielle builds another pavilion of the New Menagerie. The cruciform pavilion consists of 4 offices, united by a central round salon, decorated with a frieze depicting poultry. The flat roof of the pavilion was decorated with a balustrade and sculptures of children that are now lost. The pavilion was so beautiful and laconic in its perfection that the king brought it as an example of architecture and regretted giving it to the Menagerie, “re-profiling” it into a salon for games. Now this pavilion is called French by the name of the garden in which it is located.

Versailles. French Pavilion
Versailles. French Pavilion

Versailles. French Pavilion

Versailles. French Pavilion
Versailles. French Pavilion

Versailles. French Pavilion

With the construction of a heated aviary in the New Menagerie and a summer dining room in the form of a pavilion with trellis walls, construction work is being completed. By the middle of the XVIII century. near the gardens of the Trianon, a new Menagerie with all its numerous buildings, a vegetable garden covered with a trellis portico, a fig grove and greenhouses were concentrated.

In 1759, by order of the king, a Botanical Garden with greenhouses was created near Trianon. The gardener Richard, natural scientist Bernard de Jussier and a doctor by profession, but an amateur botanist at heart - Lemonnier worked on the layout of the garden. As you can see, the kings trusted the enthusiasts no less than the professionals, and the results justified their choice and trust. The Trianon Botanical Garden has become the most beautiful and famous garden in Europe.

Thousands of plant species were collected here, including many tropical ones. In 1767, a large greenhouse was erected for tropical plants, where Jussier, with the help of the gardener's brothers Claude and Antoine Richars, conducts experiments on the acclimatization of exotic and rare plants such as geranium, pineapple, fig trees, cocoa trees, rice, tobacco. Bernard Jussier is working on his own plant classification system, developing the ideas of Linnaeus. He grouped about 800 plants into 65 "natural orders", characterizing each group with a set of traits. Moreover, he proposed to additionally evaluate each feature according to its significance. He embodies his classification in the placement of plants in a botanical garden. Thanks to his works, the garden attracts the attention of botanists all over the world, who come to listen to him. In the 18th century.The Botanical Garden of Louis XV rivaled fame with the Royal Garden of Louis XIV.

Bernard de Jussieu (1699-1777) never published his works. The Trianon's catalog of plants before the revolution will be published in 1789 by his nephew, the director of the Paris Botanical Garden, Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (fr. Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu; 1748-1836) in his book "The Genera of Plants". Developing his uncle's ideas, he divided the plants into 15 classes, 100 orders (approximately corresponding in characteristics to modern families), 1754 genera and 20 thousand species.

The great taxonomist Karl Linnaeus (1707-1778) admired Jussier's work and even named a genus of plants from the Burachnikov family - Jussiena in his honor. A whole dynasty of botanists Jussier is firmly associated in the memory of botanists with the work on the classification of plants. And Bernard's elder brother - Antoine Jussier (1686-1758) - gave asters to Europe! Callistephus seeds brought from distant China were obtained by him in 1728 and first grown in the garden of Trianon. Jussier called them "daisy queens" because they looked like very large daisies. The greenhouse conditions and careful maintenance have transformed the original unpretentious shape. 22 years later, a terry variety called "Chinese aster" appeared. Now there are over 4000 varieties of asters. Let's not forget that Trianon became the place from where they began their triumphal march across Europe.

In the second half of the 18th century. the Trianon complex continues to grow and expand. He stepped over the palace grounds long ago, acquiring an experimental farm. Claude Richard (1705-1784) has invariably been in charge of the botanical garden for 36 years of his life, giving it all his soul and strength. More than 4 thousand plant species were under his tutelage, most of which were exotic. In 1751, pineapple seedlings were solemnly delivered to Trianon. The panel "Pineapple" by Jean Baptiste Oudry (fr. Oudry 1686-1755) reminds us of these celebrations. Later, Marie Antoinette ordered this panel to be hung over the door of the Golden Study, newly decorated for her in 1783, in the apartments of the Palace of Versailles.

Only after the final formation of this "scientific and entertainment" complex, Louis XV ordered the construction of a small palace, which serves as the private property of the king and is intended for relaxation with friends after walking in the Botanical Garden. Prince Croy recalled in his memoirs: “After the royal mass, he (Louis XV) went to the Marquis (Pompadour) to walk together in the parks, greenhouses and the menagerie of Trianon. … By lunchtime, we went around all the chickens and collected fresh eggs, then went to the greenhouses, where it was very interesting, and then returned to Trianon for lunch with the king."

Versailles. Little Trianon
Versailles. Little Trianon

Versailles. Little Trianon

The construction of the Lesser Trianon began in 1762. It has the shape of a cube, decorated with tall windows and a balustrade. The palace was surrounded on all sides by gardens: the southern facade overlooked the Main Courtyard, the western one - the French Garden, the northern one - the flower garden, and the eastern one - the botanical garden. The Marquise Pompadour loved flowers and especially appreciated their fragrance. Myrtle, tuberose, jasmine and gardenias were especially fond of her. Knowing about the passion of the favorite of Louis XV for botany and trying to win her favor, plants were sent and brought to her from all over the French Empire. She gave preference to shrubs, about which she knew almost everything, and rare flowers. The Marquise's apartments were always full of fragrant flowers and the chirping of beautiful caged birds. This was another of her addictions.

The interior decoration of the new palace in Trianon was completed in 1768. Madame Pompadour, who took an active part in the creation of the entire Trianon complex, did not live up to this moment, and the first to live in these chambers was the king's new favorite, Madame Dubarry, indifferent to art, science and the king's hobbies … With the advent of the new Lesser Trianon, the old Marble Trianon got the name Big. This is how the Great and Small Trianons known to us appeared.

Note for ourselves that among the traditional guest salons in the Little Trianon, two dining rooms and a Coffee Room first appeared. Specialized rooms for eating were allocated only from the middle of the 18th century. Previously, tables were set in any place indicated by the owner, especially since the kitchens were always located separately from the palace, and the transfer of dishes to the place of the meal was inevitable. The Coffee Room has become a tribute to fashion. The tradition of drinking coffee, first appearing in France in the 1660s, was formed at the court of Louis XIV, gradually acquiring new recipes for its preparation and special coffee dishes made of the finest porcelain.

Porcelain coffee cups from the Marie Antoinette service at the Trianon
Porcelain coffee cups from the Marie Antoinette service at the Trianon

Porcelain coffee cups from the Marie Antoinette service at the Trianon

Versailles. Coffee cups. Sevres, mid-18th century
Versailles. Coffee cups. Sevres, mid-18th century

Versailles. Coffee cups. Sevres, mid-18th century

Scientific "career" of the Royal Garden

During the reign of Louis XV, the Royal Vegetable Garden gradually lost the function of supplying the royal cuisine with vegetables and fruits, leaving it to provide external suppliers. More and more space and effort was spent on scientific research.

Shortly after the death of La Quentini in 1688, business passed to François Le Norman, the first of the Le Norman dynasty, who directed the work of the Royal Garden for the next 90 years. He was responsible for the acclimatization of coffee seedlings in France.

The history of coffee in France dates back to 1664, when coffee was first publicly presented to Louis XIV. The king approved the use of the "drink of life" from coffee beans by a special royal decree. Such a measure was needed to overcome the opposition of doctors and priests, who prophesied many diseases and troubles when using the "black blood of pagans". Coffeemania spread rapidly, and by 1720 there were 380 coffee shops in Paris. From the middle of the 17th century, the rivalry between France and Holland for the cultivation of coffee seedlings in greenhouses began. The difficulty turned out to be that only dried coffee beans were exported from the places of natural growth. Precious living green coffee beans for germination were presented to Louis XIV by the Sultan of Yemen. So he thanked the king for the help provided to him by the court physician. According to another version,coffee trees in France and its colonies are descendants of a seedling donated to the king by the burgomaster of Amsterdam in 1714. He presented a small coffee tree about one and a half meters high, grown in the botanical garden of Amsterdam from live coffee beans stolen by the Dutch in 1690. This is the only tree, majestically named by the king "The Tree" and nurtured by Le Norman, and became the progenitor of numerous coffee plantations in all French colonies. Le Normand completed work on the acclimatization and propagation of the obtained coffee seedlings. He managed to grow 12 coffee trees 4 m high, the harvest of which allowed him to brew coffee “from his own garden” for Louis XV.He presented as a gift a small coffee tree about one and a half meters high, grown in the botanical garden of Amsterdam from live coffee beans stolen by the Dutch in 1690. This is the only tree, majestically named by the king "Tree" and nurtured by Le Norman, and became the progenitor of numerous coffee plantations in all French colonies. Le Normand completed work on the acclimatization and propagation of the obtained coffee seedlings. He managed to grow 12 coffee trees 4 m high, the harvest of which allowed him to brew coffee “from his own garden” for Louis XV.He presented as a gift a small coffee tree about one and a half meters high, grown in the botanical garden of Amsterdam from live coffee beans stolen by the Dutch in 1690. This is the only tree, majestically named by the king "Tree" and nurtured by Le Norman, and became the progenitor of numerous coffee plantations in all French colonies. Le Normand completed work on the acclimatization and propagation of the obtained coffee seedlings. He managed to grow 12 coffee trees 4 m high, the harvest of which allowed him to brew coffee “from his own garden” for Louis XV.and became the progenitor of numerous coffee plantations in all French colonies. Le Normand completed work on the acclimatization and propagation of the obtained coffee seedlings. He managed to grow 12 coffee trees 4 m high, the harvest of which allowed him to brew coffee “from his own garden” for Louis XV.and became the progenitor of numerous coffee plantations in all French colonies. Le Normand completed work on the acclimatization and propagation of the obtained coffee seedlings. He managed to grow 12 coffee trees 4 m high, the harvest of which allowed him to brew coffee “from his own garden” for Louis XV.

Louis Le Norman, who inherited his brother's position, re-planted greens and lettuce in the Big Square. In 1735, he replenished the greenhouse with a hipped greenhouse, where pineapples were later grown. Things went so well that by the time the revolution began in 1789, a whole plantation of 800 pineapple plants was growing in greenhouses. Research into the cultivation of pineapples was carried out in parallel in the greenhouses of the Royal Garden and the gardens of Trianon. Rapprochement on the basis of scientific research spurred competition and added excitement to the work.

Since 1750, Jacques-Louis Le Norman has been in charge of the Royal Garden. The three new heated greenhouses built by him allowed expanding scientific work with rare exotic plants. This is where unusual plants are brought in by French travelers from all over the world. Nobody pays attention to their edibility anymore, here they coexist under the same roof, euphorbia, jasmine, patching palm, banana, nutmeg and much more.

End in Versailles: the vicissitudes of the Trianon Gardens and the Royal Garden

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