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The Queen’s Hamlet

October 3, 2012

Marie-Antoinette, seeking to flee the Court of Versailles, ordered the construction of her hamlet in 1783. There, she regularly found the charms of country life, surrounded by her lady’s companions. It became a veritable farm, directed by a farmer, whose products supplied the kitchens of the Palace.

The Hamlet was created in the spirit of a true Norman village, with eleven houses spread out around the Big lake. Five of them were reserved for the use of the Queen and her guests, four houses were reserved for the occupancy of the peasants, and one house was reserved for domestic use: the Warming Room, where the dishes were prepared for the dinners given at the Queen’s House or at the Mill.

Each house had its own little garden, planted with firm and round Savoy cabbage, cauliflower and artichokes, surrounded by a hornbeam hedge and enclosed by a fence of chestnut trees.

The Malborough Tower, a sort of beacon towering above the banks of the Big lake, was the point of departure for boat rides or fishing outings.

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