Chapter 3 – the methodological framework of this book – is structured into four sections as follows: the hermeneutical methodology used for analysing the representation, interpretation and perception of the Petit Trianon; methods of investigation used for constructing the project’s working hypothesis; qualitative research conducted at the site of the Petit Trianon, including ethnographic elements (2010–2012); and finally, a critical model developed as an overview of the discussion built upon the academic field, literature review and methodological framework.

The hermeneutical principles of intersecting diverse meanings support the book’s methodology, including the library and archive research selection and interpretation (Scott 1990). Furthermore, through thematic analysis (Boyatzis 1998; Saldaña 2013), a hermeneutical research paradigm underpins the methodology for interpreting visitor discourses at the Petit Trianon. This research paradigm is complemented at a theoretical level by Paul Ricoeur’s (2004) hermeneutical analysis of the uncaninness of Pierre Nora’s (1984–1992) ‘places of memory’ in conjunction with Maurice Halbwachs’ (1980) ‘collective memory’, the two key theories supporting the analysis of production and consumption of Marie Antoinette’s commodification through the power of clichés, crucial to understanding the perpetuation of artificial images of the last Queen of France.