hamlet of marie antoinette


The laiterie de propreté, or “Refreshments Dairy,” was one of two dairies built for Marie Antoinette at her hamlet retreat in the Petit Trianon.

Milks and cheeses were produced at the first dairy, the laiterie de préparation (“Preparation Dairy,”–it has not survived) and brought for consumption at the laiterie de propreté.

Although today the Refreshments Dairy features ornate decor, including a trompe l'oeil ceiling, white marble basins, several gilded ram’s head fountains and an exquisitely carved marble table, these were not part of the dairy’s original design. The basins and fountains were not added until the Bourbon Restoration, and the central table was installed on the order of Napoleon’s second wife, Empress Marie-Louise, during the First Empire.  

The above painting of Madame Aughié, the sister of Madame Campan, gives a glimpse of what the Refreshments Dairy looked like shortly after it was completed in 1785, as per the original plans: a bare ceiling, no fountains, and plain white walls. In other words, the Refreshments Dairy did not differ significantly in appearance from the original Preparation Dairy. However, the dairy was deemed too plain (and perhaps, since it was meant to be used by the royal family, too indistinguishable from the “ordinary” dairy) by the royal designers who managed the estates of Versailles and in 1786 or 1787, the walls were redone to simulate white marble and a trompe l'oeil ceiling was added.