The American Friends of Versailles celebrated their 25th anniversary with a full weekend of events in Paris which helped raise funds for restoration projects at the palace and its gardens. A capstone of the session was a gala ball held in the marble corridors of the Grand Trianon in the Versailles gardens.
Built by Louis XIV as an elegant retreat apart from the strict etiquette of the Court, the Trianon was a lavish setting for AFV cocktails, dinner, fireworks, and dancing.
Along with dignitaries AFV Founder Catharine Hamilton, US Ambassador Denise Bauer, Honorary Board Chairman the Vicomte de Rohan, French Board Directors Princesse Beatrice de Bourbon des Deux-Siciles, Anne-Marie de Ganay, Michele Fieschi-Fouan, Pilar and Juan Pablo Molyneux, guests gathered from New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, Florida, Iowa, California, Illinois, Indiana, London, and Switzerland enjoying garden views through the terrace’s marble arches.
Marie Antoinette may have preferred simple muslin dresses when she acted out being a milkmaid at the charming Hameau de la Reine she created played near the Palace, but the ball guests wore gowns inspired by her more formal regal finery.
After cocktails, dinner guests proceeded through an enfilade of period rooms to the Galerie de Corelle for an elaborate meal with toasts and lively conversation. Following dessert a gala concert of fireworks lit up the Trianon gardens followed by dancing well into the night.
Scheduled for next spring, the American Friends of Versailles are planning ”Le Gala des Fleurs d’Oranger,” May 31-June 3, 2024, a Reception in the historic Hall of Mirrors followed by a Seated Dinner in the Chateau Orangerie, along with Cocktail Receptions in the Hotel de Soubis and in a private Marias Hotel de Ville and a Picnic at the Pavillon Frais within the Versailles Gardens. www.americanfriendsofversailles.org
Part II, BEYOND THE BALL, coming Friday