Grand Trianon at Versailles, France.

The Grand Trianon was erected by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1687 on the site of the former ‘Porcelain Trianon’. Commissioned by Louis XIV in 1670 to get away from the arduous pomp of life in the court and to pursue his affair with Mme de Montespan, the Grand Trianon is perhaps the most refined architectural ensemble found on the royal estate of Versailles.

“A little palace of pink marble and porphyry, with marvellous gardens,” wrote Jules Hardouin-Mansart. The architect respected Louis XIV’s instructions to the letter, and the king kept a close eye on the progress of the building work; he even personally commissioned the construction of the Peristyle.

Originally a family retreat for Louis XIV, the Grand Trianon Palace was later used by Marie Leszczynska in the summer months. Her father, King Stanislaw I of Poland, stayed here when he visited Versailles. Marie-Antoinette preferred the Petit Trianon, given to her as a gift by Louis XVI.

Napoleon commissioned a programme of restoration work and stayed here on several occasions.

In 1963 General de Gaulle decided to restore the palace to Welcome Queen Elizabeth and to use it to host visiting foreign dignitaries, while converting the North Wing (the ‘Trianon-sous-Bois wing’ into a presidential residence.

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