So Marie Antoinette is mostly a story about royalty — or the temptations of excess, or youth, or excessive youth, especially as it intersects with bad governance and angry mobs of French peasants. But it is also very much a story about flowers. Marie Antoinette is injected into the French court, a world of strict protocol … and even stricter floral arrangements.
I love Marie Antoinette, the movie if not the long-dead queen, and I think Sofia Coppola’s 2006 is vastly underrated — especially as a live-action lookbook for palace interiors. Who doesn’t want to live in a palace? Gilded moldings, tremendously ornate wallpaper, formal gardens? Oh, and your very own private palace in addition to the main one? I got so into Marie Antoinette that I started visiting all the castles around Paris — and indeed, Versailles is amazing, but so are the Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne (where some of Marie Antoinette was filmed), the Chateau de Vincennes (in a more medieval way), and the Chateau de Maisons. (For even more castles near Paris that aren’t Versailles, see here.)
Marie Antoinette is one of my favorite movies, and I love nothing about it more than all the palace interiors. I went through a very strong phase of wanting nothing but opulence: gilt-framed mirrors, wall tapestries, chandeliers, delicate pink ceramics. A lot of these are surprisingly easily within reach. Here’s my shopping list, and where I’ll be looking for my new palace décor.
I don’t want an apartment like Amélie’s because it looks like the inside of, like, a kidney. (Too much red/velvet/beaded.) But of course there are bits and pieces I would love to live with. These are the six home purchases I would make, all inspired by Amélie.
I’m not sure that I moved to Paris because of Amélie, but I’m not sure I didn’t, either. I saw it for the first time at just the right time. I loved it. And as much as it’s an homage to the past — all pasts, everywhere — it is also, of course, a love letter to Paris, and Paris’s own immutability.