She may or may not have uttered, “let them eat cake” to her impoverished subjects on the eve of the French Revolution – or “let them eat brioche” as Jean-Jacques Rousseau would have it, but Marie Antoinette certainly left an indelible mark on history. Known for her flamboyant dresses, elaborate hairstyles and love of gambling, Champagne, shoes and choux pastry, the decadent French Queen was immortalised in Sophia Coppola’s 2006 film starring Kirsten Dunst, who spends a good portion of the movie luxuriating either in bed or on a chaise longue surrounded by shoes and pastel-coloured macaroons.
Taking Marie Antoinette as her inspiration, my mum recently held a lavish birthday party in which she turned a modest Surrey country house into a mini version of Versailles, complete with flourishing flower arches, ice sculptures, a sensational spread of crustaceans, including langoustine, lobsters, crabs and crayfish, petit poussin, quails eggs, and, of course, mountains of cake. Below is a glimpse of how she bought Versailles to life.
Crustacean sensations: langoustines cling for dear life