We all know and love the pretty Grotto at Hef's Playboy Mansion. You can swim, drink and be merry in a dark (yet well illuminated) 'cave' like area. Wonderful, no?
An earlier Grotto could be found on the grounds of Marie Antoinette's beloved Petit Trianon. The design of the Grotto was exquisite and during the 18th century nothing could be more 'in.' The English Garden style demanded a look of natural forms, nothing premeditated, so it was pure genius to place large rock forms here and there and have some 'natural' areas where water could run. It was all an illusion of the ideal Arcadian landscape, the result rather stunning. As visitors wandered through this landscape they would come across the grotto; where nature was overgrown, a curious entrance almost suffocated by vine and branches welcomed them accompanied by the calming sound of flowing water.
Inside the Grotto was cool, an ideal escape from the summer sun. Were there always boys hanging around this cavern of delight? Maybe.... It was private, and big enough to have a side entrance, allowing airflow and light to creep in. Enough light to enhance the secret waterfall within and the mossy walls. Antoinette was at this tranquil escape when warning of the mob reached her in 1789. How bittersweet!