The Grand Trianon is a palace situated in the northwestern part of the Domain of Versailles. It was built at the request of King Louis XIV of France, as a retreat for himself and his mistress in title of the time, and as a place where he and invited guests could take light meals away from the strict Etiquette of the Court.
The Grand Trianon is set within its own park, which includes the Petit Trianon (the much smaller palace built during the reign of Louis XV.
In 1663 and 1665, Louis XIV purchased Trianon, a Hamlet (a small settlement, generally one smaller than a village, and strictly (in Britain) one without a church) on the outskirts of Versailles, and commissioned the architecture of a porcelain pavilion (Trianon de porcelaine) to be built there.
The Facade was made of white and blue “porcelain” (ceramic) tiles. Construction began in 1670 and was finished in 1672. Because it was made in porcelain, the building suffered from deterioration. Louis XIV ordered its demolition in 1686 and replaced it by a larger residence. The new ‘Marble Trianon’ was surrounded by immense flowerbeds and terraces resplendent with tens of thousands of aromatic flowers. They were planted in pots which were then buried in the flowerbeds, allowing them to be changed daily. The result was an entrancing floral spectacle, an ever-changing decor which perfectly complemented the architecture of this garden-facing palace.
Begun in June 1687, the new construction was finished in January 1688 and inaugurated by Louis XIV and his secret wife, the marquise de Maintenon. The new structure was twice the size of the porcelain pavilion and the material used was red marble. The first set of Grands apartments lasted from 1688 to 1691. The next was from 1691 till 1701; then 1701 till his death at Versailles in 1715.
In 1717, Peter the Great of Russia, who was studying the palace and gardens of Versailles, resided at the Grand Trianon. Inspired by Versailles later Peter the Great started the building of the Grand Palace at Peterhof.
During the French Revolution of 1789, the Grand Trianon was left to neglect. At the time of the Empire, Napoleon made it one of his residences, and furnished it in the Empire Style. Napoleon lived at Trianon with his second wife Marie Louise of Austria.
The next royals to live at Trianon were the King and Queen of the French, Louis Philippe I and his Italian wife; he was a descendant of the Regent Philippe d’Orleans and she was a niece of Marie Antoinette.
In 1963 Charles de Gaulle ordered a renovation of the building.
A popular site for tourists visiting Versailles, it is one of the French Republic Presidential residences used to host foreign officials.
Enjoy full day tours of Versailles with a licensed guide.