Marie-Antoinette's shoe to go on the block

Paris (AFP) –


An elegant white shoe made of silk and goat leather that belonged to Marie-Antoinette, France's last queen before the 1789 revolution, goes up for auction on Sunday, the auctioneers said.

The 22.5 centimetre-long (8.8 inches) shoe, adorned with four ribbons near its tip, is in good condition apart from slight wear of the silk, the Osenat auction house said.

The reserve price is 8,000 to 10,000 euros ($9,450 to $11,800).

In the throes of the French Revolution the shoe ended up in the possession of Marie-Emilie Leschevin, a close friend of the queen's head chambermaid, and whose husband later died by the guillotine during the French Revolution.

Her family held on to it for generations before it came to auction 227 years after her death.

Marie-Antoinette, who was born an Austrian archduchess, was the wife of Louis XVI, who was deposed by the French Revolution of 1789.

"Let them eat cake," she is sometimes said to have responded when told that peasants were starving because there was no bread.

The royal couple was executed by guillotine in 1793 but France continues to be fascinated by Marie-Antoinette.

Last year an exhibition at the Conciergerie, the former Paris prison where she was incarcerated before her execution, retraced changes in the representation of the last French queen through paintings, mangas, films and even Barbie dolls.

In May, a travel trunk belonging to Marie-Antoinette attracted strong bidding at an auction, as did a printed cloth she wore for her 1775 inauguration as queen.