Author(s): Elisabeth de Feydeau
Plants, flowers, and trees were Marie-Antoinettes passion; she transformed the Petit Trianons gardens into an enchanted escape from the oppressive shackles of Versailles. Based on archival documents, this book includes descriptions of the cosmetic and medicinal uses of the gardens plants, anecdotes from the royal court, and watercolors of the herbarium that capture the ambiance of Marie-Antoinettes reign. The queens beloved tuberose, imported from Mexico, was used to ease anxiety but was also considered to have such potent powers in awakening erotic desire that young women were forbidden to walk in tuberose fields at night. Grape leaves were used in a concoction for lightening skin in the fashion of the day, but we also learn that it was thought that a womans presence in a wine cellar could spoil the drink. This fascinating reconstruction meanders through Marie-Antoinettes estate, as the queen herself would have walked it: traversing hyacinths, buttercups, and anemones in the French Gardens, via winding paths in the Anglo-Chinese Gardens, through the conifers of the Belvedere Gardenswhere fabulous nocturnal parties were hostedpast the entrancing aromas of the shrubs surrounding the Temple of Love, to the wildflowers of the Garden of Solitude.
.".a compilation of the plants and flowers...as if she herself recorded in an herbarium each specimen and each seed that she collected from all over the world...each revealing different glimpses into the woman who lived a charming and at the end, courageous and tragic life. "From Marie-Antioinette's Garden", you'll discover the very many plants and flowers she collected, how she enjoyed them and perhaps a bit of the woman herself. I think this intriguing volume filled with botanical plates of the very many plants that fulfilled Marie-Antoinette's passion for gardening would be one that you will come to enjoy and to explore." "A Delightsome Life"""From Marie Antoinette's Garden", offering a fascinating look into the favorite pastime of one of history's greatest figures." " Dujour"
Elisabeth de Feydeau, a perfume specialist with a PhD in history, has authored a biography of Jean-Louis Fargeon, Marie Antoinette's perfumer, and a book on perfume, both published in French. Alain Baraton is head gardener at Versailles and a widely published author of gardening titles in France.