Now, on this second visit to Versailles, I had already done quite a bit of research on Marie Antoinette and also on the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV – another favorite of mine. And so when I toured the palace I looked at the rooms in a new light, and imagined how daily life must have been for the women who lived there. Surrounded by beauty and luxury, constant pampering, delicious meals, lavish entertainment…it sounds great. But the fact is, they probably didn’t have much say regarding anything about their lives – what they ate, when they ate, what they wore, when they danced, how often they walked in the garden and when they left the palace. They were at court and, as courtiers, had to behave in a way acceptable to both the public and the King.
Except for Marie, that is. She rebelled against the strict regimentation — gambled, bought lavish amounts of clothes, took lovers, built her own house and generally caroused in high style. Who can blame her, stuck with a husband like that and forced to acknowledge and accept her husband’s royal mistress? Ugh.
I really enjoy this about her — she may have been forced to live a life she didn’t want but she didn’t take it laying down.
Anyway, during this visit to Versailles I went to the small store near the gates to the gardens and found a blue perfume, purported to be the favorite blend of Marie Antoinette. I bought it, of course. The palace store staff insisted that the perfumery, Marina de Bourbon, had created this scent especially for Versailles because it most closely resembles the formulation that Marie herself wore. Unfortunately the scent is not named – the bottle simply references the perfumery, but nothing more.
So–what is the scent like? I have to admit, it isn’t my favorite… It’s overwhelmingly floral, much like Estee Lauder’s “Beyond Paradise” — jasmine, honeysuckle, that kind of thing without any real punch.
I’ve heard that Parisian perfumery Lubin has released a new perfume “Black Jade,” which is based on another scent Marie supposedly adored. Indeed – Lubin said that Marie wore this scent on her neck on her date with the guillotine. Black Jade is on my purchase list but, for now, I’m going to go back to the Oud Stars collection to see how the remaining 4 scents compare to the first two.