Montansier and Versailles!

In my efforts to bring about the best of Versailles, a lot more than the palace, I am looking at my large vault of photos , even old paper photos to showcase its beauty. If new to my blog, I lived in Versailles for almost 10 years and visited afterward, it is a special spot on earth for me and my family.

As the saying goes, no time to see all the beauty of my belle France, even small Versailles as living and visiting are two different things.. I will tell you a bit on the Montansier theater which I never went in, but its part of the architecture and history of the city. Hit me if you want, it is even in my old district!

The Montansier theater is located in Versailles ,department 78 of Yvelines, in the Ïle de France region. It is an 18C Italian theater located in the heart of the Notre-Dame district!!   and a short walk from the Palace of Versailles and the Royal Opera. The hall was inaugurated on November 18, 1777, in the presence of king Louis XVI and queen Marie-Antoinette. This theater was born under the impetus of Marguerite Brunet, known as Mademoiselle Montansier, whose name it bored. She was ,also, founder of the Palais Royal and Variétés theatres in Paris.


The Montansier Theater before being at 13, rue des Réservoirs had an ancestor at 31, rue Saint-Honoré in the Saint-Louis district. It was in 1756 that two partners, Fleury and Le Comte, had a larger room built at 3, rue Royale. It is this 587-seat theater that Mademoiselle Montansier directs in 1768. She then obtains the office and the title of director of performances by the Court, that is to say the exclusive privilege of performing in any royal residence. She obtained the right to acquire the land known as Chien verts or green dogs which then belonged to the Count of Provence, brother of King Louis XVI and future king Louis XVIII. Once the land was purchased, she obtained a royal act, signed by Louis XVI, granting her exclusive operating rights to the new theater which she was about to direct. The facade is the same as today, which is missing from a group representing Thalie, muse of Comedy and Melpomene, muse of Tragedy. Both were seated around the lyre of Apollo.

Madame de Pompadour, meanwhile, had built her own little corridor allowing her to reach her private mansion located to the right of the theater. After the birth of the Dauphin, Marie-Antoinette reduced her visits to the Montansier theater, to which she now prefers her little Trianon theater, a miniature replica of the Montansier.

The Italian theater designed was perfect for the presentations as by pure architecture they are defined by its horseshoe shape, this arrangement , like a Greek hemicycle brings in as many spectators as possible and everyone can see the stage regardless of their location. The room acoustics are excellent, all experts agree.

The first restoration dates from 1823. The other important date is that of 1834. the city of Versailles bought it. Then, in 1841, a zinc canopy was installed to protect the entrance to the theater and a large sidewalk was created to encourage traffic. The second restoration dates from 1851 the sculpted decoration, which remains today: the front stage lodges, the moldings, the caryatids and the medallions. The third restoration dates from 1936, when the theater took the name of Montansier Theater. The zinc marquise was removed, the facade restored and the theater inaugurated in 1937 in the presence of the President of the French Republic Albert Lebrun. The last major restoration took place between 1992 and 1993 . This time we rediscover the remains of the old original decorations and which inspire current decorations: motifs of lyre, putti musicians, griffins and chimeras. In March 2009, the restoration of the stage and the reopening of the under stage and its machinery ;closed since the restoration of 1992, are carried out thanks to joint funding from the city of Versailles and donations from spectators. It is the occasion of a staging of the Merchant of Venice from Shakespeare by Jean-Daniel Laval interpreted by the Queen’s Company.

The Montansier theater welcomes spectators from all over Ile-de-France region thanks to a qualitative policy combining creation and dissemination. Fully involved in the cultural life of the city of Versailles with interventions in the European Heritage Days, the Night of Creation, as well as in 2014, a path was developed in the theatre with sculptures and works made of fabrics and sometimes covered with earth, the Montansier Theater also takes part in the Molière Month festival, which takes place every year in June.

Some nice films I like done here were

Stephen Frears’s Dangerous Liaisons, shot all the opera scenes in the Montansier theater. The film dates from 1988, before the restoration of the room. Also, The Young Girl and Death by Roman Polanski: the final scene of the film was filmed at the Montansier theater. The film dates from 1994, after the restoration of the room

As usual from me, here are some webpages to help you plan your trip here, and I need to get in….

Official Montansier theater

The association of contemporary theaters of which the Montansier theater belongs has a bit more in French here: Official Contemporary theater network on Montansier

And the Versailles tourist officeTourist office of Versailles on the Montansier theater

And there you go, another wonderful spot in my lovely Versailles for all to enjoy away from the palace ,not far, a grand location Montansier theater in the Notre Dame district! Hope you enjoy the post.

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



4 Comments to “Montansier and Versailles!”

  1. I confess that I was surprised when I visited Versailles (1978), I was expecting a Palace and a Forest not such a large beautiful city!

    Liked by 1 person

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