April 20, 2019

France - Reims - "Marie of Romania, queen and artist" exhibition at Palais du Tau

Fairly close to Luxembourg (about a two hours drive) there is this Reims. I have to say that in the five to six years living here I've never had the urge to visit it, but I did on the first proper summer's day of this year. And the reason I was so eager to go to Reims was an exhibition dedicated to Queen Marie of Romania.
A few words cause maybe you had no idea of this incredible personality.

Queen Marie of Romania was born into the British Royal Family as Princess Marie of Edinburgh, the daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (son of Queen Victoria) and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Rusia (daughter of the Tsar Alexander II of Rusia). After refusing a proposal from her cousin, the future King George V, she was chosen as the future wife of Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania in 1892. Marie was Crown Princess between 1893 and 1914, and became immediately popular with the Romanian people (wiki).
This is in a few lines how she arrived in Romania. I've discovered her when I was a teenager, visiting with my family the Pelișor Castle in Sinaia, decorated by her, and if you happen to find yourself there you will surely discover the functionality of the place. Almost always when I visit castles that were inhabited I go from one room to the next, the audience room, the reading room, the bedrooms and so on, and I could not imagine someone from this present time living in there. But Pelișor is somehow functional, it makes sense, it is liveable.

After that visit, I've started reading her memories and then other books written by her and discover her accomplishments. She was the big promoter of the Romanian National Costume, wearing it and encouraging the women in her entourage to also have costumes made. My beloved Romanian blouses are part of that National costume. I even traced her footsteps in Iasi, because during the First World War they had to evacuate Bucharest and rule the country from my hometown. After that war, she was the force that led to Romania being united in almost the same territory as today.

In her long lobby with the British and French forces pleading for a united Romania, she visits Reims after it being destroyed by the war. So you see it somehow makes sense that an exhibition dedicated to her to be opened in that French town.
After this long intro, let's talk about the exhibition.

First thing first, it is good that it exists. Romania in general has a certain face for the French people and that impression, that stereotype is something that we (the ones living so close to France) have to battle almost daily. I would have brought to Reims the products of today's Romania and not something from the glorious past, but I dare to dream it is the first step.
You will see a few objects that belonged to Queen Marie of Romania, starting from paintings commissioned by her, furniture designed by her, a few pieces of her jewellery, books she written and painted, everyday objects and to finish, the crown and cloak she wore for her coronation day, October 15th, 1922.

For Romania, the exhibition, is a great achievement and if you are interested in this sort of stuff, know that there is another Romanian exhibition at Louvre, in Paris, with Byzantine Embroidered Textiles.
The location of the "Marie of Romania, queen and artist" exhibition is gorgeous. The Palais du Tau was the palace of the Archbishop of Reims. It is associated with the kings of France, whose coronation was held in the nearby cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims.

The admittance fee is 8 euros and the visit lasts about an hour.

I hope you enjoyed reading my little article as much as I've enjoyed writing it. As always we can continue the chat on Instagram. You can find me @mademoiselle.ralu

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