Saturday, March 22, 2008

Marie-Antoinette makes it to Le Grand Palais

For some reason queen Marie-Antoinette is probably the most famous French queen in the world. Most of the people remember her 1) because she was beheaded during the French Revolution - well technically, slightly after - and 2) because she's supposed to have said "If [people] have no bread, let them eat cake". I say supposed because apparently this quote already existed in a book written in 1736 [Les Confessions] by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (a French Swiss writer). Anyway, they're currently having an exhibition about Marie-Antoinette at Le Grand Palais which has good reviews. I went last night but taking photos is prohibited, so I stayed at the entrance... Hope your Easter [for those who celebrate Easter!] weekend is doing OK, mine just started!


  1. No comment for the moment. May I have the great honnour to be GF for the next 24 hours??
    I hope so.... but I have to make two full sentences. Am I ?

  2. Who got in here just as I was about to be first?

    I liked her little hermitage at Versailles.

    It's interesting how the sky background mirrors the billboard. Wow.

  3. Yeessssss I am! I was just coming to the PC and found this new post! Great timing !! Have a nice week-end! Easter eggs are always a pleasure for me!

  4. You're right Tall gary, I did not pay attention to this ; it looks as if the clouds in the background are almost part of the billboard ;)

  5. Thank you Eric! Large smile ;)

  6. Yeah! I want to see this one!
    "I stayed at the entrance" do you mean that you were invited and didn't came in because of your camera?...
    Good Easter week end to you all.

  7. didn't come* of course. Told you, I need some sleep...

  8. I'm buying tickets to Paris right now, I must see this exhibition!!!

    Eric we were just talking about Marie Antoinette here a couple of days ago. And I have read in Vogue magazine about this exhibition. I knew the queen was heading towards Le Grand Palais and I sighed... if only I were in Paris I could go see it...

  9. I don't know exactly why but I'm fascinated by Marie Antoinette's story. To be the most glamurous and famous (Madame Déficit) queen and to end up in a small ugly cell with her her cut in Conciergerie is quite a story.

    Last year when visiting Versailles the part I enjoyed the most was her Petit Hameau. Besides being a beautiful and peaceful place, it's ironic to see how a monarch would prefer to live there instead of a pompous palace.
    Of course I had to visit Conciergerie too and I was very impressed by everything I saw there.

  10. Wow, 11th is about the lowest I've been in the half dozen or so I've commented on so far! Nice photo as always, Eric, and have a good Easter!

  11. Guille: "Do you mean that you were invited BUT didn't GO in because of your camera?"

    Now this is an exhibition not to be missed! Although it would be good, at some point in the not too distant future, to see one featuring the lives and achievements of other female luminaries of the period: e.g. Madame de Pompadour, Madeleine de Scudéry, Madame de Sévigné, etc. Compared to these women, Marie-Antoinette was merely a spoiled, celebrity-seeking sycophant. Which isn't to say that she deserved to be guillotined - but who did?

  12. Corinne
    You need to write two sentences about the picture or content. Isn't that right everyone?
    But as it is your first time we might forgive you...just this once ;)

  13. lol Rose. You're so STRICT! Almost as much as Phx. Where is she? We all love it! he he. Yes i agree.

    I'd love to go to this exhibition. Happy Easter to you too Eric. I just ate an Easter bunny. :o

  14. I told you Rose that you were strict, demanding etc. Do you remember? LOL
    Lynn, why don't you come though?...It will be great!

    Lucio, it's noted down...

  15. For those living in or near London, don't forget that the Royal Academy of Arts is currently hosting two important exhibitions: one of art from Russia's major collections, the other a survey of Lucas Cranach the Elder (c.1472–1553).

  16. Larger than life. An exhibition I'd love to visit ... if only our dollar weren't so weak ... I'd come spend a week. Of course we have a wonderful Roman exhibit happening at the moment here, but somehow it just won't be the same.

  17. I can't get to Paris at the moment Guille, wish i could :( as soon as poss though i will!

  18. Wasn't Marie-Antoinette Austrian?
    Bored with photographing Isle of Man sunsets this week, came to view and yet again inspired, stunning composition as always.

  19. I'm so happy to have found this blog! I'm visiting Paris this summer, haven't been back since 1989, and I'm reeeeeeallllly excited!

    Eric, your photos are lovely, and I can't wait to see some of these spots in person!

    Lisa T.

  20. Babooshka: she was, she was called L'Autrichienne by the gossipers of Versailles and many others who hated her.

  21. Eric, you're so modest. I find it hard to believe you didn't know those clouds were there to compose your photograph. I'm almost afraid you you commanded them to assemble.

  22. Beautiful Eric! And as Petrea said, I believe you commanded the clouds for that shot!

  23. I must add this to my list of things to do when I'm in Paris in May... beautiful picture as always, your compositions are always wonderful...

  24. I just want you to know you have inspired my own Long Island Daily Photo on blogger. In case you are not familiar, Long Island is an island semi-attached to New York City & doesn't always have the best reputation, but it is quite beautiful in many ways despite its overcrowded ugliness. I love your blog & it is my dream to visit Paris someday. Your PDP posesses much positive energy. I hope mine will be equally uplifting & interesting.

  25. Lynn, if i'm not mistaken Phx is in London and going to Paris next week.

    Yeah, I know.

  26. Lily Hydrangea, welcome! I got to be the first person to comment on your blog!

  27. Hey, is that Marie-Antoinette giving the weather forecast again? "If the people want sunshine...hmphh, let'em have partly sunny skies."

  28. The people who state that they are first to comment have way too much time on their hands.

    And, I'd pick cake over bread any day! LOL.

  29. Monica - I could not agree with you more! I have had a total girl-crush on Marie-Antoinette ever since the first time I set foot at the Palace of Versailles!! I just read an interesting novel about her written in the first person, called "Versailles" by Kathryn Davis. I am so sad that I cannot see this exhibit - oh how I wish you could take photos inside, Eric!
    How long will the exhibit last? I won't be in Paris until late October - boo hoo!

  30. I'm not sure that I'm interested in the exhibit (only Lucio could make it possible interesting for me), but I do like the composition.

    I did want to say how nice it is when you all look out for those who go missing for a while...i.e., PHX-CDG. I know when I'm gone and come back to comments such as "where is Michael these days?" it really make me feel part of a community. Ahhhhhh

  31. I'm so excited! I know that nobody, I mean NOBODY, even thought about this link with the photo! Is there a new award to be given???


    She keeps Moet et Chandon
    In her pretty cabinet
    'Let them eat cake,' she says
    Just like Marie Antoinette
    A built-in remedy
    For Kruschev and Kennedy
    At anytime an invitation
    You can't decline

    Caviar and cigarettes
    Well versed in etiquette
    Extraordinarily nice

    She's a killer queen
    Gunpowder, gelatin
    Dynamite with a laser beam
    Guaranteed to blow your mind (Anytime)

    Recommended at the price
    Insatiable an appetite
    Wanna try?

    To avoid complications
    She never kept the same address
    In conversation
    She spoke just like a baroness
    Met a man from China
    Went down to Geisha Minor
    (Killer, killer, she's a killer Queen)
    Then again incidentally
    If you're that way inclined

    Perfume came naturally from Paris (naturally)
    For cars she couldn't care less
    Fastidious and precise


    Drop of a hat she's as willing as
    Playful as a pussy cat
    Then momentarily out of action
    Temporarily out of gas
    To absolutely drive you wild, wild..
    She's all out to get you


    Recommended at the price
    Insatiable an appetite
    Wanna try?
    You wanna try...

  32. Rose : you are absolutely right, I am afraid! I forgot the rule you reminded me of! Bouhhh....
    Yes, the PDP GF's award is strictly inspected by some of you here and that's why we do like it a lot! You make the Official GF contest last as a solemn time and thank you for that!
    OK, (sigh), as it was not my first time and because I want to be fair, I agree Tall Gary deserves the title for today ; his comment was strictly conform to the PDP Constitution, which made me laugh so much, the time you all wrote it - some weeks ago!
    Then Tall Gary, if you want to come back here and take your prize, it is yours! True congrats!!
    And just for kidding some of you girls ;), I'll add that I was, at least, first to be here, just under Eric's eyes! That's not so bad after all ;))

    Oh sorry Marie-Antoinette, I totally forgot you here... I am interested in the exhibit, like in most of all the exhibits at Le Grand Palais.

  33. * exhibition, twice sorry.

  34. "La belle époque" pour notre Patrimoine architectural.
    Merci pour l'information qui n'était pas encore diffusée dans la France profone à 160 km de Paris.

  35. Michael: That's very flattering, Michael! Actually, I think I'd rather enjoy taking tours of galleries and special exhibits. Do you think it would be possible for me do this professionally - on a casual basis, that is - while I am resident in Paris? Would there be, for example, enough English speaking expats who might be interested in such a thing? If so, how would I go about arranging it in advance of my arrival?

    By the way, I think you should go and see the exhibit anyway and give us all YOUR review of it!

    Guille: Any thoughts on the aforementioned proposal?

  36. I defer to Corinne. I am so impressed that she knows of Marie Antoinette's obscure quote when Louis the XVI first asked her to be his girl friend (GF).

    With eyes shyly cast down: "No comment for the moment."

    Then with great hope but limited to the scope of a single day: "May I have the great honor to be GF for the next 24 hours??"

    Corinne can be forgiven, in her rush to post, her slight misquote when Marie Antoinette was overcome with emotion at the prospect of being chosen by the King: "But I am too full of sentiments."

    And of course her surprise when Louis actually chose her. "Am I?"

    It's obvious to anyone that Corinne deserves the coveted award not only for her luck and speed but for her arcane knowledge of Marie Antoinettealia.

  37. Tall Gary, you are so talented!!! I am almost without any voice by such a comment!! May I only hope i will NOT end like her!!;)
    I am happy you were THE GF of the day and you came back and took your award!
    I have to go outside now so I cannot tell more but nice to meet you !! See you later!

  38. es-tu un photographe professionel ? Car tes photos sont très belles !

  39. I recently discovered your blog and I am glad I did! And now to discover this exhibition as I am reading MA's biography ánd looking forward to my 8th visit to Paris in May! This will be on top of my list.

  40. lol Michael yes it's good when we are missed. Of course we miss YOU a lot, because you are always jetting around the world. We still fight over you in your absence, even so. I really wish i'd thought to post Queen. Doh! Great song, great showman.

    Phx is in London? Why would she want to go there when she could be in Cheltenham? :i

  41. Corinne:
    Next time ;)

    Is Phx in England??? How come I dont know anything about that? Is she coming to Canterbury? :(

  42. Lovely photo, as always, Eric, but I just wanted to point out that the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was in fact Swiss!

  43. No Rose it seems she's stuck in boring old London....:(

    (it's not boring at all of course, i'm just sulking)

  44. Hey Pont Girl pop into Cheltenham again when you're passing, you wanted the flares? You got the flares. lol.

  45. It's the beginning of my Spring Break so I have slept a little late and thus am late in posting. Comme d'habitude. :)

    I have been to Versailles and found it very gaudy, almost "tacky" (to use a very American word). The water and light show in the summer is fabulous though. The Conciergerie left me in tears because I could still feel the fear of those who were kept there. I am really missing France right now, especially Paris--I keep seeing these programs on tv and yesterday I bought a beautiful book of pictures and history of France. It will live in my classroom.... once I get my own room.

    Oh, by the way Eric, the other day I found out that I may be teaching an Advanced Placement French class next year. I'd like to use your blog as an ongoing assignment--where the students would need to pick a picture from the previous week and then either describe it in French or write a little story (en français, bien sûr) with the picture as a prompt for it. You have such a fantastic variety of images that I think my students would really benefit.

    Joyeux printemps, tout le monde!

  46. Great photo, of course and I'd love to go to that exhibit. Did you watch the movie "Marie Antoinette" with Kirstin Dunst? I loved the colors of the clothing and foods they used, a kaleidoscope of color!
    Have a happy Easter!

  47. Marcia, I'm afraid tout le monde cannot enjoy spring time because it's not spring time all over the world right now. It's autumn here, unfortunately.

    Pont Girl I'm going to look for this novel you mentioned.

    Rose and Lynn, Phx is working, it's just a layover and actually I'm not sure if she's in London or NY.
    But I know she'll be in Paris next week.

  48. Pont Girl, i read that same novel a while back and I really enjoyed it, too.
    Marcia, I love that idea as I would have adored it when I was taking AP French, it would have been much more interesting that the boring study guide prompts but still have enough variety to prepare for the many situations that may show up on the exam. And make sure your students know the word for leprechaun, you never know when it may come in handy on the exam and impress the graders, my entire class managed to use the phrase "un farfadet, tout vert et mignon" which hopefully was correct...

  49. Re: Michael's reference to Queen's "Killer Queen" I say bravo! Sidenote: Freddy Mercury once said of the tune back in a '74 interview that it shows how "classy people can be whores" too but "read into it what you want." Interestingly enough, Brian May thought that his guitar playing on that particular tune was one of his best ever put on record. Who would disagree? The tune rocks!!!

  50. On a different subject, Louis la Vache would like to thank Eric for inspiring him to begin his own Daily Photo Blog: SF Bay Daily Photo:

    Louis la Vache, in his native Texas accent says, "Y'all come!"

  51. you are right, Monica, I am in LHR right now and CDG on Wed.
    Just HAD to see all the pix.I missed in the past few days. Don't have time to read all the comments, but Tall Gary is the GF award winner....he made his comments on the picture, a necessary requirement!!!!
    Send me your CDG dates, Monica, what a surprise!

  52. Phx what CHG dates? Did you really think I'm buying tickets to Paris??!!
    I wish my friend, that was pure wishful thinking.

    But there's still a chance I might go this year, don't know yet... but not in time for the Seine picnic though...

  53. Eric, this is a glorious photo (and an amazing cloud formation in the background)! I am so missing Paris, and wish I could see this exhibit too.

    Love the "Killer Queen" lyrics and literature, but most all of what I know about Marie-Antoinette I saw in Sofia Coppola's film {gasp!}.

  54. Yesterday, by sheer coincidence, one of my local television stations aired the documentary "Le Petit Theatre De Marie-Antoinette". It was a fascinating insight into the mechanics and protocols of this almost intact venue, and I recommend that you see it if you are interested in what a performance there might have looked and sounded like in M-A's time. Which is not to say that Coppola's film fails in this regard - it doesn't - but there's nothing like a "behind the scenes" tour provided by an expert on the subject.

    On the other hand, while Coppola did manage to make an opulent film, it is almost as superficial as its subject - which some might find apt, but which I found annoying. Perhaps she should have chosen a truly interesting eighteenth-century woman, like Madame de Pompadour.

  55. Justine - glad to hear you liked the book about Marie-Antoinette - it was different, but I liked it!

    I hope you find it too, Monica! And I think you should go to Paris in late October - early November so we can meet in person and go have some macarons! Peut-etre, Eric et Michael will join us ;)

  56. Lucio I guess one has to read Marie Antoinette's biography by Antonia Fraser to understand the point of view that Sofia Coppola was framing. It's not by chance that she didn't show the queen's story after she and the king were arrested. She wanted to show exactly how futile life in Versailles was, and, according to Antonia Fraser (and reinforced by Coppola) Marie Antoinette was a victim of it, seeing that she was just 14 when she arrived there and there was not much to do then but follow the protocol.

    I agree with you, a film about Madame de Pompadour would be very very interesting.

  57. Pont Girl you know what, there's a big chance I'll go by october or november tops, since I probably can't go this semester.

    If so, we shall meet and have lots and lots of macarons and of course a kir royale too! I'm sure Michael and Eric would love to join us.

  58. Monica: I've read Antonia Fraser's book, and understand your point, but I still think the film, as a social history, is incredibly slight.

    If, on the other hand, it was intended as a mere entertainment, then it succeeds in spades! But if that was the intention, why make an historical film at all? Besides, do we really need an(other) entire film to tell us that Versailles in the 18thC was the capital of fatuous vanity, and that M-A was a victim of political circumstance? On top of that, I think Sophia's postmodern histrionics do more to cover up her film's lack of real substance than to make its story relevant to a contemporary audience (Michael Winterbottom's 'Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story', made at around the same time, does it much better).

    If you want to see a truly excellent film about the royal court of Versailles (but in the time of Louis XIV), I highly recommend Patrice Leconte's 'Ridicule' - assuming you haven't already seen it. Elegant and excruciating, witty and sexy, grand and gaudy, it fuses fact and fiction in a way that few films of its type ever have, and ever will.

    Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with liking Sophia's film for what it is, and always will be. Only let's hope someone with a more mature imagination comes along to make the film of Madame de Pompadour's life!

    Hope I haven't come across as a grouch. I'm really not, you know. :)

  59. Lucio I like to read about your point of view. I will look for this film 'Ridicule', I love films that portrait this period of history.

    Again I echo you, I think a movie about Madame de Pompadour would be great. Talking about movies, have you seen the film "Napoleon Bonaparte" with Daniel Auteil and Monica Belluci? I haven't seen it but I always see it on the shelf of Blockbuster. So I was wondering if it's any good and then I'll rent it.

  60. Monica: I'm so glad I didn't offend you. And no, I haven't seen the film you mention, but I will hunt it down now that you have brought it to my attention.

    Did you know that one of Stanley Kubrick's unfinished projects was a film about Napoleon? The Kubrick exhibition, which toured here a couple of years ago, featured a section with just a tiny portion of his research. There were piles and piles of books, and a wooden filing cabinet jam-packed with index cards, detailing all the material he had examined in the course of his preparations - the breadth and depth of which I found truly awe-inspiring! It's such a shame he died before being able to make even an attempt at shooting his film. He did, however, get to tell a story set in the eighteenth century, which many find dour and stodgy, but which I have always liked: 'Barry Lyndon'.

  61. Hello from New York, and happy Easter!

    You'll be very happy to know that the first thing my history teachers told me (and my classmates) when they started teaching the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette was that she most definitely did not say "Let them eat cake." Most history classes nowadays try to focus Marie Antoinette as a person, so we're getting a more well rounded picture of her. I wish I was in France to see the exhibit--I was so excited when I read about it in the New York Times!

    Keep posting wonderful pictures!

  62. Lucio I've seen Barry Lyndon but many many years ago. I have to watch it again one of these days. I did not know about Kubrick's project. Too bad he didn't get to do it, I'm sure it would be a good film.

  63. I too share a fascination with Marie Antoinette and wish I could come see this exhibit!

    And I love the photo; where I live we have no advertisements that resemble anything extraordinary at all!!

  64. There is an article in The Economist about this exhibition here.