#8. “Marie Antoinette” (2006)
If I could find the modern-day travel-writer equivalent of Sofia Coppola, I’d be ecstatic. She basically took the tried-and-true formula of period pieces and turned it upside down. And not without a serious fight. We need the same for travel.
“Marie Antoinette” garnered more headlines for being booed during the Cannes film festival than for its portrayal of French monarchy. Granted, it took liberties. Marie Antoinette was a spoiled brat, but she was also complicated, and Sofia explored this fairly throughout her film. The movie provokes a reaction, not only for its modern soundtrack but for treating its anti-heroine as human and as a free thinker.
One of the most compelling parts of the movie is its setting. I had been to Versailles a few times before I saw the film–I had toured the famous Hall of Mirrors and the palace’s impeccable gardens. What I never even knew of, however, was the Hameau de la Reine, or Marie’s rustic farm located a mile away from the palace.
When I was at Versailles about a year ago, I practically sprinted toward the hameau. The queen apparently had this created so she could understand what it was like to be “of the people.” Some historians even consider this to be the very first theme park, as every element of the farm was recreated to be authentic of the time.
Marie Antoinette’s farm is compelling. Coppola dramatized this refuge beautifully, and I ate it up. Playing with lambs, rolling around in meadows, making wildflower headdresses. It’s kind of every girl’s fantasy, right? And people are now spending top dollar to recreate this type of travel. I could spend days at Versailles.
And I did.
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