The Door Nail

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July is the last month when you can visit the house of our princess, Louis XVI’s youngest sibling, Madame Elizabeth. I went back there today and took this strange photo I am showing you above. There was a dozen of nuns at the Orangery. They all crowded around the two headsets  that endlessly played the little song composed by Marie-Antoinette and her sister-in-law. One of the sisters smiled at me and I handed her my pair of earphones…. And that’s when I did the unspeakable thing — whipped out my camera and took a picture! Pauvre Jacques! The screams of the guard on duty!!! Mother Superior must have thought I was flashing her girls! She ran toward us! The moment explained the delicacy with which the curator approached the liaison of the princess with Doctor Lemonnier: The door handle, the door grill and the door nail, that’s all that is left of him, his house and the tender feelings. Oh, I was repentful and remorseful, played dumb, apologized to the guard and walked outside. There, of course, I took another picture — this one was legal, so I didn’t rush: I leaned on a tree, played with the zoom, so you could see the sign telling us not to get too close, and framed the whole composition with ivy. Here it is, the entrance into her grotto.

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About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
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6 Responses to The Door Nail

  1. Regina says:

    Everyday a jeweled note of history sent by YOU to US…Madame Elizabeth and MA are happy you risked your life for us to see the little Iron remnants of forbidden love of the Grotto! Wonder if there’s a tunnel as well there…for you’ve pointed the others existence within the gardens of Versailles…never seen and never spoken of before at least in my mind…loved the pool for the Pages!

    • The first time I’ve read about those tunnels was in the book “The Gardener of Versailles” by Alain Baraton: The book begins with the tempest, and the whole chapter talks about the consequences of that disastrous night. The most recently published book that addresses them is “The Secret Versailles.” They actually had a picture of it as well; I don’t think it’s the same as mine, although it could be. I need to look at it again. Finally there are some Internet sources — usually local — some of them complete with maps: they even mention tunnels that connect the city with the palace, or the park, but it’s a little vague — more of a rumor, or rather a collective memory — a tunnel that starts in some building, but nobody knows exactly where it leads; etc.; again it’s been a while since I researched the subject. The tunnel between the two red-brick buildings that extend toward the city as you approach the palace is common knowledge: it is still functional, back when I worked at the Chateau one of the employees talked to me about it.


      • Regina says:

        One wonders why MA, LVI & Entourage never escaped via tunnels…I know his whole THESE ARE MY CHILDREN AND I AM THEIR FATHER mantra, but his real children, family were the victims of his naïveté.

      • He wasn’t even at Versailles when the march of women took place. He came to Versailles because of the march. This was a reformer king and an “ENLIGHTENED” monarch. They could have left. Lafayette, the hero of all heroes, who came with his National Guard in the wake of the march, probably expected Louis et al to run away. They didn’t. The king believed that as head of the state he spearheaded the Revolution.


  2. Regina says:

    He was at Rambouillet? Anyway, I agree…ENLIGHTENED is the word that best describes both MA & LVI…Rousseau induced.

    • Yes, he was almost there — hunting, and it was suggested to him to go back, that’s what the Orleans faction was counting upon: This way they could elect Phillip Egalit (Duke of Orleans) as a new king! It was the peak of Phillip’s popularity both in the National Assembly and in Paris. His palace — Palais Royale served as the headquarters of the French Revolution. Unfortunately Louis decided to ride it out, and nothing happened according to plan.


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