Conciergerie visit to the Marie-Antoinette Exhibition
Time & Location
About the Event
Marie Antoinette, from the Petit Trianon to the guillotine:
a tragedy of public image.
Is there anyone left who hasn’t heard the tale? That of the tragic iconic fashion Queen? No, not Diana, the royal figure immortalized by Mario Testino, but the one celebrated in Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun’s unforgettable portraits: the equally idolized - but soon to be despised - Marie-Antoinette.
Icon par excellence: for the fashionistas, for the devoted royalists, for fans of tragic figures, history buffs and historical soap addicts, Marie-Antoinette suffers today as she did when she was still the most talked about female creature of her time. Now she is everyone's property: they can adore her or they can tear her apart.
Her many (wrongly quoted) famous lines - "Let them eat cake!" - along with her extravagant hairstyles and expensive gowns, her arrogant manners and her haughty gaze, stand in blunt contrast to her profound maternal affections and her intense devotion in true friendships. In the much-awaited exhibition at the forbidding Conciergerie, the prison famous for being the setting for her final days, the contradictions are all laid bare in a fascinating display of her everyday life: objects, documents and personal belongings that all belong to different chapters and facets of her existence; a mixture of overindulgence and profound loneliness. In her private life just as much as her public one at the heart of Europe’s most crowded court, Marie Antoinette's story comes across as a most intriguing amalgam of truths and falsehoods.
Let's follow the long path taken by that bubbly teenage princess as she became the confident Queen, mistress of all graces, in all those perfect settings - in which her existence was often far from being a happy one - to end up with the prematurely broken widow who proudly mounted the steps to the scaffold, ignoring, as ever, the screaming, spitting crowd.
They say myths should be laid to rest: but Marie Antoinette - martyr for some, victim for others, traitor for many - still cannot rest in peace: her name, her times, her actions and her very image remain inexorably linked to a Revolution that still enrages, inspires - and divides.
As we view this exhibition in the very place where the final chapter unrolled, just to imagine the filth, squalor and fear she must have experienced there helps us to understand how this former Queen’s struggle to maintain whatever dignity she could find made the guillotine seem like a last noble escape. History like this is always the most gripping Hollywood script!
Date : Thursday 09/01/20
Time : 10.30 – 13.00 Please meet at 10.00 sharp, visit must start promptly)
Important: Tickets will be purchased collectively, please bring change!
Place : Meet at corner of Boulevard du Palais and Quai de l’Horloge
Métro : Cité.
The cost of the visit will be 18 Euros. The entrance fee to the Conciergerie is 8,50 including obligatory headsets.