Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Crumbs. Did anyone deliver the cakes?"


Marie Antoinette might not have been the first to utter those immortal-yet-possibly-fallaciously-attributed-words, “Let them eat cake.” It seems there is a trifling issue with the timeline. In the 1760s, when political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau quoted “a great princess” as saying it, Marie Antoinette was still young enough to be making mud pies and playing with toy tea sets ... and at least a year or two away from marrying.

Oh, fiddle-dee-dee. It sounds far more appropriate coming from her than some lesser known Duchess elsewhere in Europe. And it adds to scenes like these in Sofia Coppola’s movie.

I thought it was a very generous thing to say when I first heard it, having interpreted it as, “Peasants: the cake’s on me.” It could actually have been a PR exercise that went horribly wrong in the execution process. Is it a coincidence that it's so easy to lose one's head in the pâtisseries of Paris? I think not...

11 comments:

  1. Poor Marie-A...she's gotten such a bad rap over the years! But she had fabulous style, didn't she? ;)

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  2. Very clever how you tied it up with French pastries in the end. Ah...how I remember La Maison Du Chocolat. It calls to me now.

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  3. Anne ~ I'd be happy to inherit a few of her trinkets, no doubt about it!

    Margaret ~ Being tied up with French pastries? How did you know that's one of my favourite dreams?

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  4. I lost something else in French patisseries: my waistline! Still, better to lose it to petits fours than to hot dogs and beer, I say. M-A did indeed have a great sense of style (which you've captured so well), especially for one so young.

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  5. Alexa ~ I agree ... losing it to hot dogs and beer would truly be a waste of a waist.

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  6. Loved the video. I must see the movie, just to view the location. My visit to Versailles was much too short, as I went with others who weren't interested in lingering as long as I was.

    You lot would like this book: The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury. It's history, but reads like fiction. It's the story of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and their experience during the revolution. Their long imprisonment, their escape attempt, their executions, and what happened to their two children. The most compelling, fascinating book I've read in years.

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  7. Petrea ~ Anything written by someone with the name Cadbury is already ahead for me. :) {Famous here and in the UK for its chocolate and more recently for its drumming gorilla ad.} Thanks for the tip... I find history a slog, but this sounds like something I could enjoy reading.

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  8. Fun! Very nice gorilla.

    To me, Cadbury is more famous for its hill fort.

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  9. LOL! Cadbury reminds Petrea of the likely location of the real Arthur's headquarters and reminds me of a drumming gorilla. I need to read more books.

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  10. I love that Gorilla ad and Cadbury chocolate beats the Belgian stuff hands down in my book. (How's that for a sequential selection of cliches?) Do love the drawing of Marie-Antoinette. Her dress is gorgeous!

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  11. MmeBenaut ~ I have a soft spot for the good old Cadbury chocolate, and even if I hadn't, I'd be a convert because of the Gorilla!

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Merci, grazie, thank you for joining our conversation lounge. Your smile lights up the room. Even more beautifully than our crystal chandelier. x