Benoît is a food aficionado, consultant and journalist who loves sharing his passion for royal history.
A true Renaissance man, Benoît has worked in finance, has been a journalist, and an entrepreneur in Western Canada and the UK, has trained journalists, managers and leaders in various domains and now design thinking. Benoît is intrigued by the history of cooking and enjoys learning all he can about wine — two subjects that fuel the dream of opening his own restaurant. For Secret Journeys, Benoît explores the exquisite taste and amazing life story of the last French queen, Marie-Antoinette.
You are currently leading one of our walking Journeys that allows visitors to follow in the footsteps of Marie-Antoinette at various stages in her life. Why do you feel it is so important for visitors to gain a holistic view of one of France’s most iconic figures?
Marie-Antoinette is remembered for her frivolous life, for having been really disconnected from the French people and still she was adored when she became queen.
She’s a very interesting character who never wanted to harm anyone, but didn’t listen to her mother and other advisors, blundered a lot, and sometimes was ill-advised. Only at the very end of her life did she become dignified.
Furthermore, all this happened during the worst part of the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, which kids learn about at school but very often through the lives of Robespierre, Danton and the likes, and never or rarely through the life of the king’s wife who ended up beheaded. Thus, what happened to her in her last days and how she reacted to imprisonment and being separated from her children at the end is another way to look at these events and understand why the French monarchy ended.