When I first laid eyes on Le Pavillon de Musique de la Cometesse du Barry in Louveciennes, France, I fell in love. The building is extraordinary, has a history worth writing home about, and was built to entertain a king. What more could you ask for?
My Mother-In-Law, who, upon finding out we had decided to have the wedding in or around Paris, kindly gathered a list of possible venues. The Pavillon was at the top of that list, and while their website left a lot to the imagination, it was clear that the building met all of our needs. We were planning a small wedding of around 70 people, and the music hall was intimate, breathtakingly beautiful and just what I pictured for a wedding in France: a classic, old building on lush, green property overlooking Paris. It was the first spot we visited out of the venues we were considering, and was so stunning that it subsequently ruined every other place we saw that week. The other chateaus were beautiful in their own right, but none were quite like du Barry’s.
The Pavillon was purpose-built as an entertainment hall in 1771, and given to Madame du Barry by King Louis XV of France. Du Barry, who had a long-lasting rivalry with her better-known peer Marie Antoinette, was the official mistress of Louis XV and a wildly controversial one at that!
She entertained French high-society and royalty at the Pavillon for years until her eventual arrest during the French Revolution in 1793. Madame du Barry was deemed a conspirator, loyal to the crown, and sentenced to death by guillotine. Today, the Pavillon de Musique is a protected historical site in France, and is maintained by a private trust.
Because it’s a protected, “class 1,” historical building, it isn’t the easiest location to secure for a wedding and there are a lot of rules and restrictions. Numerous background checks and documents had to be turned over to the directors, open flames of any kind were absolutely prohibited inside the building, and nothing could be set up on the front lawn. We managed to navigate the whole thing with the help of family and our coordinators, but it was not the carefree, all inclusive location that some hope for.
However, it was worth the trouble, because…well…look at it! I have an obsession with beautiful, old buildings, and this one certainly leaves an impression. Thanks to the Pavillon for making our wedding day extra special!
To find out more about Le Pavillon de Musique de la Cometesse du Barry, visit their website here, and check out Personality, a Johnny Mercer song that mentions du Barry by name! For other posts about my wedding, read about the invitations, the best advice I ever received, and a few funny stories of things that went wrong. Special thanks to my wedding photographer Greg Finck for the beautiful images, and Wikipedia for the paintings of du Barry.