The Grand Trianon.
Trianon was a little hamlet on the outskirts of Versailles which was purchased by Louis XIV in 1668. He then commissioned the architect Louis Le Vau to design a porcelain pavilion (Trianon de porcelaine).
The facade was made of white and blue Delft-style "porcelain" (ceramic) tiles from the French manufactures of Rouen, Lisieux, Nevers and Saint-Cloud. Construction began in 1670 and was finished in 1672.
However by 1687 the delicate tile deteriorated so badly that the King ordered the pavilion be demolished and a stronger one built. This time in marble.
The Grand Trianon would often play host to Louis XIV and his (some say secret) wife, Madame de Maintenon, and was later used by his son and grandson, Louis XV and their familys, as well as hosting such people as Peter the Great during royal slumber parties (you can imagine the pillow fights).
Marie Antoinette held a few theatrical performances in the Galerie des Cotelle (below), a beautiful gallery with paintings, though she preferred the Petit Trianon to get away from court life and the baroque paparazzi.
After the French Revolution it became a tad neglected until Napoleon decided to make it his residence (well, one of them anyway), had it decorated in the empire style, and lived there with his second wife Marie Louise of Austria.
In 1963 Charles de Gaulle ordered the building to be renovated, and today, as well as being a nice attraction for tourists who missed out on seeing the main Chateau, it is used as a Presidential residence to host foreign officials.
It is quite something to behold. Because we didn't get to see the Chateau, we could only imagine the opulence of it if this luxurious "smaller" residence was anything to compare it to.
I was tempted to linger but there was another special place I wanted to find..............
To be continued......
Le Grand Trianon, Versailles, France - June 2015