The Marie Antoinette Experience in Paris
Study History in Paris
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You’ll spend your first day taking in the romance, glamour and intrigue of the City of Lights. Visit the Eiffel Tower for stunning views of the city. Next up is the Arc de Triomphe and Luxembourg Gardens. Get to know your guide and imagine the haute couture, palatial parties and elaborate entertainment of Paris during the life of Marie Antoinette.
Today you’ll immerse yourself in the luxurious 18th-century lifestyle of Austrian princess Marie Antoinette. Visit the grand ballrooms and elaborate decor at the Palace of Versailles. You’ll be able to see the Queen’s Chamber and the Queen’s Theatre as well as costumes and wigs. Marie married Louis XVI of France (at ages 14 and 16, respectively) in the Royal Chapel on May 16, 1770. This union was arranged in an effort to improve relations between Austria and France. The Gardens of Versailles feature English and French gardens, sculptures, fountains and groves of citrus trees.
Hameau de la Reine (Hamlet of the Queen) is a cottage retreat on the grounds of Versailles. Located among the gardens of Trianon, this idyllic farm-like setting provided the Queen and her children with a place to relax, walk and escape the rigidity of court life. The paintings of Hubert Robert inspired the design of this village. There are small rustic houses, a mill and other buildings built around a lake.
Marie Antoinette was a dedicated fan of the theater and often held productions in the Queen’s Theatre at Versailles. This evening, you’ll experience the exuberance and spirit of Paris at a cabaret show at the famed Moulin Rouge.
Today, view the immense collections of The Louvre. Explore the history of the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette through exhibits dedicated to jewelry, sculpture and fine art. Afterward, stroll through the Tuileries Gardens’ collection of sculptures, vases and immaculate gardens.
An 18th-century mansion is home to the Rodin Museum, where you can visit sculpture gardens and his most famous work, “The Thinker.” In keeping with the Queen’s love of high fashion, you’ll take in Boulevard Saint-Germain, Galerie LaFayette and Le Marais with their fashion houses, cafes, bars and galleries.
Next, you’ll visit the final days and resting place of Marie Antoinette. She was initially held at Le Temple Royal Prison before being transported to the Conciergerie, where you can visit her cell. Next up is a stop at the Place de la Concorde. Antoinette was guillotined at this public square along the Champs-Elysees on October 16, 1793. This beheading, which followed her husband Louis XVI in January, ended monarchy rule in France. Both royals where eventually buried at the Basilica of Saint-Denis. This Medieval abbey dates to 1144 and features Gothic architecture. There’s a memorial sculpture of the two by Edme Gaulle and Pierre Petitot.
On your last day, spend time strolling around the Place de la Bastille. This historic square, the site of the riots that started the French Revolution, now has cafes and bars to enjoy French cuisine and culture.
Whether Marie Antoinette actually uttered those four famous words is up for debate. What is known is that she sparked a revolution of elaborate living, high fashion and fine dining. Your international travel adventure will bring you closer to understanding the historic life and times of France’s Queen during the French Revolution.
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