25.10.10

Sire, Marly?

In 1679 The Sun King, Louis XIV, Jules Mansart in conjunction with his architect began to construct Marly. Marly would be his small place of refuge to get away from the riotous noise of Versailles and take a few friends.

The chateau would be just big enough for his family. Incorporated into Marly were twelve pavilions, eleven of which were for married couples, and one for bathrooms. These were connected to each other and the main building by arbors of sweet smelling shrubs.

The etiquette of Versailles was relaxed at Marly, whereas the formal setting of Versailles was open to the public and therefore strict, at Marly the atmosphere was as close and as congenial as the King would ever get (or allow). For example at Versailles no one ate at the same table with the King except Monsieur (the King's brother), but at Marly the Dauphin and his three sons, and Monsieur and his son Chartres could do so. Normally, however, the King had all the women eat at his table. The Dauphin presided at a second table and the rest of the men sat together at a third.

An invitation to Marly was much sought after. To be so intimate with the King was to reach the pinnacle of society at Versailles. The King secretly loved for people to ask for an invitation. If it became known that the King would be paying a visit to Marly, as he travelled through the halls of Versailles, the sound of "Sire, Marly? could heard from many voices.

Unfortunately as with many other things this national treasure was destroyed by the mob in the revolution. Today little remains except some of the most exquisite gardens in all of France.

Find a site on Marly's Gardens.

Dieu le Roy,
Brantigny

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