A trip to 18th Century France in Second Life

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte – click any image for full size

Magritte is a two-region estate – Full (using the full 30K allowance) and Homestead – offering Second Life residents the opportunity to travel back in time and participate in the life of the people of southern France in the 1750s, just over half-way through the reign of Louis XV.

Designed by Benoit de Montgelas (ZeustheImmortal) and Florens de Montgelas (EganObelius), the town and noble houses here are said to be located close to the town of Bergerac, a sub-prefecture of the Dordogne. The introductory notes for the estate point out that the south-west of France was somewhat independent of the king’s rule (in the time of Louis XIII, some of the nobility here had even tried to separate from the rest of France), and there was also much rivalry between families and houses, all of which makes for a rich backdrop for potential role-play.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

In terms of the layout, most of the estate reflects the wealth of the region: the houses of the wealthy and landed are proud and expansive, encompassing formal gardens, high walls presenting an air of aloft privacy as they face one another across wide, cobbled boulevards.

The largest of these fine houses sits to the south, forming a grand estate, Maison du Printemps. Modelled in the style of Robert de Cotte, this is a private setting  – one of several in the estate, so do be careful to avoid trespass. However, it sits on land open to visitors, where horse riding and archery are both available. The horse riding is available to most types of horses available in Second Life, and championship races and fox hunts are announced through the estate’s role-play group. The archery system can be used with all types of range weapons – although obviously, it is preferred that weapons are kept to the period, there is also a request that the weapons available from the estate’s blacksmith, operating out of dock-side marketplace, are used.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

Role-play in the region is open to anyone wishing to join, and roles can be among the aristocracy, the bourgeois or the peasantry. Details of RP are available from the information centre at the landing point. So too are period outfits for those who don’t have them – simply join the estate’s group and take either the male or female outfit and collect the Out Of Character (OOC) tag also available to make it clear you are just visiting.

The town and docks, located to the west of the estate, stands in strong contrast of the grand houses of the nobles. Here the building are huddled together, clustered around the docks, almost medieval in style. This helps to give the town a busy feel, and is entirely in keeping with the period, where many towns hadn’t really changed too much over the years when compared to the fineries of architecture afford by the wealthy.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

As well as the horse riding and archery, fishing can be had within the estate and – for the nobles, perhaps – there are also formal dances and, the estate’s notes offering the following:

The “Salon blanc” is a ballroom for concerts, banquets and dancing. Festivities will be announced in our groups.
If you wish to host your own event, like a ball or concert, please contact the Barons for further information and planning.

In addition, a pavilion on the southern estate offers a place where a pleasing rest can be had following a walk under the trees, complete with a view across the river to Margitte.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

There are perhaps a couple of small incongruities in the estate; for example, the docks are home to a sailing vessel that might actually have found it a little difficult navigating this far up the Dordogne (there’s also a second lying a little off-shore as well). But this is Second Life, and a little license is allowed in how ideas are presented, and the docks do help add character to the town.

Overall, the estate is genuinely photogenic, and during my visit there were resident players to be found (OOC visitors are encouraged not to interact in open chat but keep questions, etc., to IM). I’d certainly like to thank Le Baron de Magritte for his gracious hospitality during my time at the estate, and for asking after my well-being.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

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