Linderhof Palace and Versailles Petit Trianon

Marie Antoinette Petit Trianon Versailles

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You may remember from reading Not So Happily Ever After: The Tale of King Ludwig II, that the “mad” king built three castles: the famous Neuschwanstein, the island Versailles replica Herrenchiemsee, and the “jewel in the valley,” Linderhof.

Let’s take a closer look at Linderhof, since it is the place Ludwig spent more time in than any of the other palaces he built.

Linderhof Ludwig II

Linderhof — photo via Wikimedia Photo Commons, by Taxiarchos228

Linderhof: Inspired by Petit Trianon

Since childhood, Ludwig had loved building and designing. He loved creating castles with blocks as a toddler. What was his inspiration for Linderhof Palace? A true introvert, Ludwig was always looking for a place where he could retreat from the cruel world and even from people in general.

He looked to Versailles Palace in France, which he loved, and observed its Petit Trianon. The Petit Trianon was built on the Versailles grounds, fairly far from the main palace. It was a place for Queen Marie Antoinette to retreat and get away from it all. This “small” palace formed a large part of Ludwig’s inspiration for his own place of retreat, Linderhof.

Petit Trianon Versailles

Petit Trianon – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

As you can see from the two photos, Ludwig took the original (the Petit Trianon) and upped the glam factor in his own creation (Linderhof). One theory on why Ludwig’s decor was always so over-the-top with gilt, color, etc. was that he was quite near-sighted, yet too vain to wear glasses.

Versailles map

Versailles map for perspective — main estate is inside the purple square; Petit Trianon is in the purple circle. It’s a huge place!

Petit Trianon – History

Louis XV built the Petit Trianon between 1762 and 1768 for his mistress. When he ascended the throne in 1774, 20-year-old Louis XVI gave the palace to his 19-year-old queen, Marie Antoinette. Its design and decor are an example of the transition between the Roccoco style and Neoclassical styling. It has been described as “a marvelous expression of the refinement and the fantasy of the art of living and thinking in the 18th century.”

Versailles was often a place of stress for Queen Marie Antoinette, and she saw the Petit Trianon as a place of escape — as Ludwig felt about Linderhof. The Queen was one of Ludwig’s favorite historical characters, and he often “dined” with her imaginary presence. He had a bust of the Queen put in the gardens at Linderhof, and each time he passed by, he would kiss it.

The Petit Trianon has inspired more than just the eccentric Bavarian King. The Kentucky governor’s mansion is based in part on the retreat. San Jose, California, has a concert hall based on the building as well.


Ludwig II: Linderhof Statues Restored

Fascinating Facts About Linderhof: Ludwig II’s Small Palace

Ludwig II: The Venus Grotto at Linderhof


5 thoughts on “Linderhof Palace and Versailles Petit Trianon

  1. You have discovered some really interesting facts about King Ludwig’s abilities and eccentricities as well! It was quite a surprise to learn that several other buildings were fashioned after his Linderhof castle. The king certainly was and is a fascinating character!

  2. This is all new to me. And to think that the Kentucky governor’s mansion is modeled after that is amazing.

  3. You need to ask your two cousins living in San Jose if they’ve ever been in the concert hall. It is good that both wealthy and lowly people can find places of escape in their lives. My home is a place of retreat for me. I make the rules and set the limits and it is a rather nice feeling to be in control!

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