Tuesday, June 10, 2008

She Lost Her Head

While in Paris, Cheryl and I took in an exhibition at the Grand Palais of paintings and various objects of Marie Antoinette, the last official queen of France. Cheryl had found the exhibit on the internet and we bought advance tickets at the FNAC Bastille on Wednesday.

The street poster for the Marie Antoinette exhibit.

In addition to the dozens of portraits of Marie herself, we saw many paintings of her family, the royal family of Austria, from when she was a child. There were drawings and portraits done from the celebrations when she was wed to Louis XVI, not to mention furniture, tableware, and jewelry that survived the revolution. There were also portraits of the king, their children, and other prominent members of the royal court.

The ornate glass and steel roof of the Grand Palais
seen from the Tuileries.

The exhibit ended in a dark room that contained mostly press items from the revolution, letters that Marie wrote while being held prisoner in the Conciergerie, and a few drawings and artifacts from her trial. She was executed about two weeks before her thirty-eighth birthday.

Statues peeking over the roof of the Grand Palais.

We spent about an hour wandering around the exhibit, which wasn't too big -- really, how many portraits of Marie Antoinette can one look at? -- before making our way back to the apartment to get ready for dinner that evening.


  1. Credit goes to BettyAnn who suggested taking in the exhibit. Thanks, BettyAnn!

  2. I didn't know that Marie was so young when she died. She had it good for a while. I've never been in that Palais, but would like to see it one day...

  3. Oh, cool! Though I have never really been highly interested in that era of French history (more into medieval kind of stuff... Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Capets, and all that) I did see on the 'Net that this exhibit was going to be going on in Paris, and I think I would have enjoyed it. Did you see the 2006 movie about Marie Antoinette, with Kirsten Dunst? I thought that it did an interesting job of showing the decadence of the period, while also showing how much Marie Antoinette was, like all of those queens, a pawn of politics.

    Did you or Cheryl buy any souvenirs?? :))


  4. Would you say the exhibit was worthwhile though? I've heard mixed reviews...

  5. Hi Walt! Thanks for your comment - as long as you have my new blog address and are signed into blogger, you should be able to comment under your own name. And I was thinking too that it was a shame we didn't meet up while you were here - maybe next time??

  6. cheryl, I didn't know that! Thanks, bettyann!

    evelyn, I think that when I was in high school, 38 seemed terribly old...

    judy, didn't see that movie, but there were a couple of M-A documentaries on tv over the winter that were pretty good. And no, we didn't get any souvenirs.

    le tigre, it was ok, but probably only worth it of you're into the Marie-Antoinette story.

    sam, thanks, I'll give it a try. And definitely next time!

  7. This is one exhibition I will skip. Except for the fact that she was beheaded, I can't see much interest in the woman ;)

  8. Cheryl and Walt, you're welcome!

    I enjoyed the exhibit very much.



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