The late 1700s were rough for the royal family in Paris, and not just because by the end of it they all ended up at the guillotine. Marie Antoinette grew so tired of being wealthy beyond all belief that she had a village created behind her mansion (which in turn was behind her vast palace). A village where servants could pretend to be poor villagers for her amusement.

In case you wondered why the actual, real, non-actor peasants eventually just had enough, this was probably a factor.

Versailles is a massive, over-the-top palace full of gold trim and enough rooms to make you wonder if any one person has seen the entire palace. Behind this, across a massive estate that took ten minutes to cross with a modern shuttle, is a smaller palace that the queen used when she wanted to get away from it all. Not too far from this was another fairly large mansion that belonged to Marie Antoinette. And it was behind this that she ordered the construction of her own personal replica country village.

A village fully stocked with fake poor people
Apparently eager to prove just how out of touch she could be, Marie decided to play dress up. According to PBS, “[w]hen visiting this ersatz farm, Marie Antoinette and her attendants would dress as shepherdesses, and play at milking the cows and tending other docile animals.”

Judging by the bloodbath that followed, it would seem that her impoverished and overtaxed subjects weren’t too thrilled with this.

Actual replica of an 18th century French peasant’s abode. Not shown: abject poverty.
“No peasants past this gate”
 

The house of definitely not peasants
img_2204
Marie’s home away from home away from enormous, gold-covered home.
 

Advertisements