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Grand Trianon in Versailles Gardens
Grand Trianon in Versailles

Le Grand Trianon is one of the marvels of Versailles. Le Grand Trianon was commissioned by Louis XIV, known as Sun King, in 1687 and designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. It was inaugurated by Louis XIV and his secret wife, the Marquise de Maintenon, during the summer of 1688. The 1920 Trianon Treaty was signed there. Palace of Versailles facts.

Grand Trianon history

The Grand Trianon was built in 1687-1689 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, to provide Sun King with the retreat he wanted in the park, far away from the Palace of Versailles and the constraints of the court. Jules Hardouin-Mansart is also famous for the design of Les Invallides in Paris.

Sun King occupied the Grand Trianon, where he housed members of his family: his sister-in-law, the Princess Palatine, his son-in-law, the duc de Chartres, his daughter, the duchesse de Bourbon. Marie Leszczynska, the wife of Louis XV, loved the place and lived there in summer. Marie-Antoinette gave several performances there but preferred Le Petit Trianon, which her husband Louis XVI had given her.

Napoléon ordered the restoration of Grand Trianon and stayed there many times with his second wife, Marie-Louise. On June 4th 1920, representatives from Hungary, the USA, the UK, France and Italy signed there the Treaty of Trianon. In 1963, Charles de Gaulle had it restored as an official residence and a guesthouse for Presidents of France.

Versailles history

The peristyle of Grand Trianon
The peristyle of Grand Trianon

Grand Trianon architecture

Its architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart described it as "a little pink marble and porphyry palace with delightful gardens". Italian architecture greatly influenced the architecture of the Trianon, which stands between a courtyard and a garden.

It consists of a ground floor covered by a flat roof. Pink marble pilasters punctuate the facades. The building has two wings joined together by a peristyle adorned with columns and tiled flooring. Most of the rooms of this delicate palace were furnished during Emperor Napoleon's time.

A room in Grand Trianon
A room in Grand Trianon

Trianon peace treaty

The Treaty of Trianon was signed in Grand Trianon by the victors of World War One and Hungary on June 4th 1920. World War One witnessed the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire into separate entities. The Allies recognised this at a legal level by signing separate peace treaties with Austria and Hungary.

As with the other treaties with those who had fought against the Allies, Hungary suffered territorial losses that affected her economic strength. It imposed military restrictions and created population issues.

Trianon peace treaty negotiators
Trianon peace treaty negotiators

Trianon treaty detailed history

Three months after the cessation of World War I hostilities on November 11th 1918, Hungary in the midst of anarchy fell under the control of a communist agitator, Bela Kun, who installed on March 21, 1920 in Budapest a Republic of Soviets imitating Leninist Russia. His dictatorship, as brief as it was bloody, was overthrown following an intervention by the Romanian army, leading to the access to the head of the country of Miklos Horthy, admiral of a country now without access to the sea. Hungary's new strongman proclaimed himself Regent pending the restoration of a king from the Habsburg dynasty, a restoration that will never come.

Miklos Horthy negotiated the Treaty of Trianon as best he could. The signing of the Trianon peace treaty on June 4, 1920 in Grand Trianon, Versailles, not only consecrated the end of Austria-Hungary (already manifested in the Treaty of Saint-Germain with Austria on September 10, 1919 and due to the recognition of the successor states) but also the renunciation of any re-establishment of a new unified Danubian power. It fixed the borders of the new nation-state, Hungary, while depriving it of two-thirds of its historic territories and more than half of its inhabitants. The area of ​​Hungary was reduced from 282 thousand km² to 93 thousand km², that is to say exactly to a third, and the number of its inhabitants reduced from 18.2 million to 7.9 million or to 43% of the previous total. Hungary thus became the smallest of the newly created Central European states with nearly 3 million Hungarians living outside its new borders. This same treaty established the legal, economic and social framework which determined the development of the future Hungary with detailed obligations vis-à-vis its neighbors and the great victorious powers. In addition, it should be remembered that Hungary could in no case give up its independence, in other words recreate Austria-Hungary.

Soon after signing the Trianon treaty, Miklos Horthy insisted on its revision. To obtain it, he later approached Mussolini and then Hitler. The Second World War allowed him to recover territories on Romania and Yugoslavia. But in 1945, Hungary, defeated, was definitively re-established within the borders of the Treaty of Trianon. After the collapse of communism, it had the wisdom to put a damper on its demands on the Hungarian minorities in Transylvania (Romania) and Vojvodina (Serbia) so as not to open up new conflicts with neighboring regimes.

Grand Trianon visit

Visitors focus on the Palace of Versailles and skip Versailles Gardens, their statues, fountains and their three marvels: the Grand Canal, Petit Trianon, Grand Trianon. Take a full day to visit both. Spend much time in Versailles Gardens. Visit Le Grand Trianon. Rent a boat on the Grand Canal (1 hour costs 16 euros) or a bicycle in the park (1 hour costs 7.50 euros). Go to one of two good restaurants: La Flottille or La Petite Venise. The visit of Grand Trianon and a lunch at La Petite Venise are included in Palace of Versailles full day tour from Paris. Information. Map of Versailles Palace and Gardens.

The garden of Grand Trianon
The garden of Grand Trianon

Grand Trianon and Marie-Antoinette

Le Grand Trianon is part of the domain of Marie-Antoinette in Versailles. The domain also includes the Queen's Hamlet (Hameau de la Reine), a rustic retreat built for Marie-Antoinette in 1783. Designed with the help of the famous painter Hubert Robert, it contained a meadowland with lakes and streams, a Temple of Love, a belvedere, with a neighbouring grotto and cascade. Check map of Grand Trianon in Marie-Antoinette's estate.

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