Interesting Food Habits Marie Antoinette Had When She Was Queen
Even if you aren’t very familiar with French history, you almost definitely know who Marie Antoinette was — or at least you know some things about her. The last Queen of France before the French Revolution was a controversial public figure. She is best known for her iconic quote, “Let them eat cake,” which, actually, is probably not even something she really said. Still, Marie Antoinette was known for being glamorous, frivolous, and completely out of touch with what was going on in France around her.
Marie Antoinette lived in absolutely obscene luxury in Versailles with her husband, King Louis XVI.
She threw lavish parties, she had extravagant taste in clothing and accessories, she was completely preoccupied with material items, and she seemed to have no interest in being an actual leader (which is what led to her untimely beheading).
It’s no wonder that people remain curious about Marie Antoinette’s life — one look at Versailles, and you have to wonder what someone who lived there did every day. For example: What did she eat? Was it all the sweet cakes she seemed to love?
She did like sweets for breakfast.
And that occasionally included a sweet drink as well.
Author Karen Wheeler wrote about Marie Antoinette’s diet in the book The Marie Antoinette Diet: Eat Cake and Still Lose Weight. In there, she wrote that the Queen loved to start her day with a pastry with coffee or rich hot chocolate. Sounds pretty authentically French to us!
Marie Antoinette loved croissants.
Other accounts, however, say that Marie Antoinette didn’t love pastries for breakfast, but instead dined on a bread she’d grown up eating in her hometown of Vienna in Austria.
Her First Chambermaid, Madame Campan, said, “The only things of which she was particularly fond were her morning coffee and a sort of bread to which she had grown accustomed during her childhood in Vienna.” This “sort of bread” is actually croissants, which originated in Vienna, not France. Actually, the Queen is often credited for making them popular in France.
She had her main meal for lunch.
Fortunately, these weren’t as indulgent as breakfast.
It’s not particularly surprising to hear that Marie Antoinette enjoyed her main meal during the middle of the day, at lunch — after all, that seems like a very European way to eat. Wheeler has written that the Queen would eat a meal of meat or fish with vegetables during lunch each day.
Her snacks were more like meals.
Meals fit for a queen, that is.
Wheeler also wrote that Marie Antoinette snacked throughout the day on foods that many people would consider meals, or at least side dishes. This included things like cheese, macaroni, and vegetables cooked in cream. She definitely wasn’t going around eating chips or anything pedestrian like that.
The Queen ate little more than broth for dinner.
A bone broth, in fact, proving she was ahead of her time.
In her book, Wheeler discusses how Marie Antionette managed to keep a slim figure, despite her affinity for sweets. Wheeler believes that’s partly due to the Queen’s light dinner. She would often eat just a broth made of leftover bones in the kitchen with vegetables and either chicken or guinea fowl.
When she wasn’t eating sweet, she preferred bland food.
Things weren’t always sugar and pastry dough for the queen.
According to reports, Marie Antoinette did not actually like the extravagant foods that were served during public meals. She mostly liked her simple broth with vegetables, as well as boiled or roasted white meat (especially chicken or fowl), cooked vegetables, and simple soups. Not as exciting as one would imagine a Queen with her reputation would have!
She often did not eat in front of public company.
Honestly, #relatable. Many of us hate eating in front of others, which can actually be a social phobia.
Marie Antoinette was known for being quite haughty, which is why it’s not exactly surprising to hear that she may have snubbed her food whenever she was in the company of others. Marie Antoinette’s lady-in-waiting, the Marquise de La Tour du Pin, wrote in her “Memoirs” that “the King ate with a hearty appetite, but the Queen did not remove her gloves, nor did she unfold her napkin, in which she was very ill-advised.” The Queen supposedly did not touch her food, which was seen as a contempt for the company there.
The Queen was not that into alcohol.
This goes against what we’ve all been led to believe.
If you’ve seen Sofia Coppola’s movie Marie Antoinette, then you would have the impression that the Queen spent much of her time drinking expensive champagne. Actually, reports say that she did not drink alcohol very much at all, if ever. She preferred lemonade or special water, imported from Ville d’Avray. She would often dip small biscuits in her water or lemonade.
She had a serious sweet tooth.
We know, it’s shocking.
If it wasn’t already obvious, the Queen absolutely loved sweets — and not just for breakfast, when she often ate sweet pastries. Wheeler said that she was known for her obsession with treats like petit fours, crystallized fruits, and wafers. She often ate these things for dessert or offered them to her guests.
Marie Antoinette loved chocolate so much that she had her own chocolatier.
This sounds like a foodie’s dream.
The Queen was a huge fan of chocolate (who isn’t?), and according to reports, she had her own chocolatier at Versailles to supply her with exactly what she wanted. She particularly loved liquid chocolate, which she drank with whipped cream and sometimes orange blossom. (Remind us to try this next time we’re craving a hot chocolate.)
She liked orange blossom water a lot as well.
Rumor has it that Marie Antoinette used orange blossom in more than just her hot chocolate.
She supposedly loved oranges, and luckily, there was an orangerie (an orange grove) in Versailles, which you can still visit today. When Marie Antoinette lived there, the oranges were used to make orange blossom water. Supposedly, the Queen liked to drink it for nerves — and used it as a beauty product. Time to push our rose water aside and give this one a try!
Marie Antoinette likely wasn’t eating the kinds of cakes she ate in Coppola’s movie about her.
In Coppola’s film, the Queen is pictured eating colorful, beautiful cakes all the time.
The reality? This wasn’t a thing back in her time. According to The Old Foodie, the cakes are historically inaccurate, as the cakes back when Marie Antoinette ruled were leavened with beaten eggs or yeast, and were baked in “hoops” supported by paper cuffs and set on flat baking trays. They were not highly decorated and beautiful to look at.