Grande and Petite Ecuries of Versailles!

So on a quiet Friday, bit cool and cloudy foggy in my neck of the woods, I remember Autumns there in my old home of Versailles. And yes indeed, its been a while not written anything on my wonderful Royal and Imperial city of Versailles.

The city of Versailles once did a survey on visitor and found out that to their surprise not me, 98% of visitor only see the Palace/Museum of Versailles. Pity when the Domaine of Versailles outside its walls of the palace, hameau, trianons, orangerie etc is much larger and with wonderful things to see. The fault is that on many sites they have Versailles as a thing to do in Paris lol! Well , first the only similarity is that it is in the same region of ïle de France. Then, it is not in the same department, county area as Paris has a proper one as 75 sort of like been DF in Mexico or DC in the USA; and Versailles has a department 78 Yvelines all apart. Then, for history, Versailles is classic France while Paris is for the world.You get it right, cheers ::)

I like to tell you a bit more on two classic buildings that are outside the Domaine physical location but administratevely part of it. The Royal Stables are the Great and Small Stable or in French, the Grande Ecuries and the Petite Ecuries.

The Grand Ecuries (stables) are located in Versailles , Department 78 of Yvelines in the region of ïle de France. It is right in the Place d’Armes, in front of the castle, between the avenues of Saint-Cloud and Paris. Constituting with the Petite Ecuries , the Royal stables that gave work to over 1000 persons under king Louis XIV. They were built under the direction of the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and completed in 1682. With a merry-go-round, it sheltered the king’s hunting and war horses.

Versailles

Same as the Petite ecuries, which is separated by the Avenue de Paris, under the former regime, it was under the command of the Great squire of France and housed the school of the pages of the King, reserved for the sons of the families of the military nobility until 1550 . It also welcomed in its walls, between 1680 and 1830, the cradle of French horse riding: the School of Versailles. Between 1793 and 1794, the emblem at the pediment was removed. From 1854, the stable was occupied by the Army.

In 1978, the collection at the Museum of the Carriages or wagons of Trianon, built in 1851, was moved to the Grande Ecuries. In 1985, the Museum of carriages was opened to the public. In 2007, the Museum of carriages closed its doors for the expansion work. In 2016, the museum is open again to the public.

In 2002, the Château de Versailles returned to these places their initial function by choosing Bartabas, squire and founder of the equestrian show Zingaro. In 2003, the National Equestrian Academy of the Domaine de Versailles was inaugurated.

Equestrian Academy in official Bartabas site

La voie de l’écuyer Opus 2018 (the way of the Opus squire) is the new show going on now, more here: https://www.versailles-tourisme.com/la-voie-de-l-ecuyer-opus-2018.html

Versailles

Establishments located at the Grande Ecuries are: Gallery museum of Carriages or wagons, Equestrian Show Academy of Bartabas, and the city Archives of Versailles.

The buildings are organized around five courses: The large courtyard bordered by a colonnade in the hemicycle and two symmetrical wings;the two middle courses framed at the rear; the two small lateral courses say les manages.

Versailles

Behind the large gate, there was a rectangular carousel, which is now the theater of the National Equestrian Academy of the Domaine de Versailles. The Académie du spectacle équestre led by its director Bartabas. If you love horses with themes of history you will love it. It is located at the Grande Ecurie of the castle right across the street from pl d’Armes the building to your left. You will see lusitanians horses, high above riders, fencing on a horse, choreographies of many actions and jockey changes by the master Bartabas. There are seances in the mornings call Matinales des Ecuyers with baroque music , you can visit the stables or ecuries or a visit to just the building done by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the architect of the court in 1683, which was renovated for this spectacle in 2003. The stables keep about 40 horses today.

The galleries are simple to the Grande Ecuries while the Petite Ecuries has double galleries separated by the Colonnades. The ceilings of the galleries are vaulted. The visible walls of the castle are of stone, the other less visible are red brick with stone siding. The rectangular crusaders upstairs and skylights at the attic; The sculptures are presented at the pediment, eardrum and jambs of the Grand portal. The side entrances are on the Avenue de Saint-Cloud and the Avenue de Paris. In 2016, on the occasion of the opening of the gallery/museum of carriages, the sign Ecuries du Roi or King’s stables was installed on the wrough iron grille gate.

Versailles

The Petite ecuries on the Place d’Armes, in front of the castle, between the avenues of Paris and Sceaux. Constituting with the Grande Ecuries the royal stables and completed in 1681. It now houses the National School of Architecture of Versailles. Identical to the Grande Ecuries, which it is separated by the Avenue de Paris, under the former regime, it was under the orders of the first squire.

Official National School of Architecture of Versailles

Versailles

The Petite Ecuries has the care of ordinary mounts, hitch horses and wagons as well as fancy vehicles, sleighs of gondolas. From 1683 to 1685, the blacksmith was built behind the small stable. This property complements the activities of two stables.. In 2004, the La Maréchalerie   (blacksmiting) became a center of contemporary art at the National Higher School of Architecture of Versailles. It organizes several exhibitions a year. In 1787, to make economies, the activities of the Petite Ecuries were abolished and attached to the Grande Ecuries. From 1935 to 1939, it was the barracks of the Air school, with the air Base 134 Versailles. Since 1969, it has been home to the National Higher School of Architecture of Versailles. Since 1999, it also houses the restoration workshops of the Center for Research and Restoration of the museums of France.

Official Center for Restoration of the museums of France

Since 2012, the Petite Ecuries has presented to the public a gypsothèque containing a collection of about 5000 sculptures and casts according to the ancient times, especially Roman, since it was only in the 18C that archaeologists were interested in an advanced way to Greece. It is the casting collection of the Louvre Museum, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Sorbonne Institute of Art and Archaeology; Under the direction of Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Colbert had indeed imposed on the residents of the Académie de France in Rome to copy old pieces so that they would serve as inspiration to the sculptors of Versailles.

Gypsothéque Sculptures and Mouldings gallery of Versailles

Since 2008, as part of the castle’s rescue campaign, several statues are housed in the sculpture gallery and replaced with copies. -The statue of Latone of the basin of the Latone in 2015 or the-groups of sculptures in the Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon in 2010.

Versailles

Some webpages to help you further your discovered of the many things to do in Versailles are

Official Chateau de Versailles on the Stables

Official Chateau de Versailles on Events at the Grande ecuries

Official Yvelines dept 78 tourism on Equestrian events

Another fascinating page on my beautiful and good city of Versailles , you ought to spent more time here. Even if crowds , of course, it is very popular place after all for the castle:museum but do walk out and see much more in royal and imperial Versailles.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and  many cheers to all!!!

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