Orange Trees of Versailles: A Moment in French History

Posted by Felicia M Hazzard 09 July, 2011

        How Orange Trees Came to Versailles:   PRE-BASTILLE DAY  

  On Thursday, July 14, 2011 will be Independence Day in France or better known as BASTILLE DAY. The day when the French Monarchy which consisted of Kings and Queens no longer ruled and from that day on July 14, 1789 it became a celebration of the beginning of a new form of government.

  I celebrate BASTILLE DAY with my diplomatic friends and the citizens of France by during some historical fragrant research.

  It is apparent that July is a summer month and it gives me such an array of light and airy fragrances that surrounds the scene of summer.

  One of my favorite scents is orange and this to me consist of orange blossom, sweet orange, neroli, bitter orange, blood orange and orange blended with other fragrance notes.
 
  My research lead me to a book that I recently  discovered named, THE ORANGE TREES OF  VERSAILLES by Annie Pietri  (Publisher: Yearling) ISBN#0440419484 (November 8, 2005). I amazing book is for ages 9-12 but it is in no way juvenile reading. Once you beginning reading, you totally forget that this book is designed for that age group. I really think posting the age group 9-12 does this book a disservice but for all practical purposes I guess this is for legal purposes within the book industry.  

 I have not yet completed this book but I did want to bring up my reason for this interesting issue of discovery on orange trees and Versailles (France). Orange trees are known to have originated in Burma. Later, infact 100 years latter, the orange trees were found in the gardens of Charles of Bourbon. In 1523 Charles of Bourbon's property was confiscated so the orange trees were moved to Chantilly in France. Next it  moved to Fontainbleau under King Louis XIII and finally it landed in Versailles in 1684.

 What does this all mean? To me it means that the simple luxury items that are in our midst such as fruits and vegetables are taken for granted and nowadays so excessible. Not so, hundreds and hundreds of years ago. It traveled many, many miles to have the luxury of a tree full of juicy robust sweet oranges in a garden for the vision of loveliness and to show that it is a source of wealth.

 Secondly, it shows how this luscious piece of fruit appears in the fragrance industry.  There are countless fragrances on the market that are composed of the orange. I personally love it and I cannot get enough of this tangy, sweet, citrus blossom of vibrant matters wafting on my skin and in the air.

 I am a part of an amazing group of people on Facebook that consist of a group named, Facebook Perfumistas. This is a closed group of fragrance devotees who review, discuss and analyze fragrances in the mass, niche and natural markets.

Petit Trianon
Last week, I posted a question to the group and it stated, "What is your favorite orange perfume? I received an overwhelming list of fragrances. I want to share a few of them with you. So, the next time you think of France, don't think just about their delicious macaroons, croissants, fashions and the Eiffel Tower. Think about those orange trees in Versailles. Since reading, "The Orange Trees of Versailles", I have thought about the many gardens of Marie-Antoinette held at the Petit Trianon.     

There are several books about the gardens of Trianon and how this opulent of glamour of such edible fruits and vegetables came to be in France.

TUSCAN BLOOD ORANGE by Pacifica Perfume
ORANGE BLOSSOM by Jo Malone
ORANGE BLOSSOM PERFUME OIL by Amanda Jones
ORANGE STAR by Tauer (2011 FIFI AWARD WINNER UK)
FLEURS d'ORANGER by Mazzolari
MELOE by Teo Cabanel
ORANGE SANGUINE by Atelier Cologne
THE ORANGE COLOR by DSH
EAU DE TRIANON by DSH
FLEUR D' ORANGER by Fragonard
TILDA SWINTON LIKE THIS by Etat Libre d'Orange
Eau de Cartier Essence d'Orange by Cartier
ORANGES AND LEMONS SAY THE BELLS OF ST. CLEMENTS by Heeley
ANTHOLOGY COLLECTION-ORANGE BLOSSOM by Penhaligons

Did your favorite orange scent make the list? If not, that is okay. A complete list will be available soon on this site.

Well, you ask what is the book, "The Orange Trees of Versailles" all about. Well, I will love to tell you this. However I will do so when completed under the series, ART OF PERFUMERY: A LITERARY COMPONENT. It will discuss an array of books that refer not just about perfumery but about scents, historical moments in history and references to perfumes on the market dedicated to that specific subject.





F.H.


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