The Chateau de Versailles, interiors !!!

A wonderful subject for me as lived in the city of Versailles by the Notre Dame Church for 9 years before moving on to the Morbihan breton and there so far 9 years too. Versailles will always be in our hearts, it was our first owned home in France! And of course, even if there is more than a castle in Versailles, need to tell you one of my first posts on the Château de Versailles, an overview of its interiors now in my black and white series. See my many posts on several of the spots below. Hope you enjoy as I do.

Hi ,I am in Versailles. What a better subject to tell you about France. My beloved city of Versailles, well it’s a lot more than a castle but 98% folks come here for it. This time will tell you about the interiors. It is indeed huge and beautiful so bear with me ; it’s going to be long!!! The Château de Versailles, interiors!!!

As a result of his official apartment, king Louis XIV had made for his personal use ,a suite of rooms looking over the cour de Marbre and the cour Royale. He exhibited his collections of work of arts and his paintings.  These spaces are not available for free visit, but almost every day at 10h a guided tour allows you to discover them (inquire in castle for the exact dates and times as they may change). King  Louis XV had done a new bedroom in 1738, smaller and exposed to the south, so easier to heat. He died there on May 10, 1774 at 13h. Constructed on the eve of the French revolution, the  Cabinet de Garde-Robe or wardrobe is one of the few large-scale developments undertaken by Louis XVI in the private apartment.

The cabinet de la Pendule (pendulum) of king Louis XV as he was very interested in science and especially in astronomy. One can see on the floor the route of the meridian of Versailles, materialized by a brass wand. The extraordinary pendulum, which gave its name to the play, was presented to the Academy of Sciences, then to the king at Choisy Castle, before being installed here in 1754. The clock shows the time, the day of the week, the month, the year and the quarter of the moon. In the Crystal globe, you can see the planets operating their revolution around the sun.

The Cabinet des Chiens or dog’s is the name of this room and the scenery of its cornice remind that king Louis XV made his favourite dogs sleep there. The woodwork comes from the old billiard room of king Louis XIV, transformed by Louis XV into a bedroom. 

The salle à manger  des retours de chasses or dining room returning from hunting  replaced in 1750 a small apartment of  baths. Once or twice a week, Louis XV gave supper to the Lords and the ladies who had accompanied him to the hunt, and it was a very sought-after favor to be admitted to these suppers. 

The cabinet intérieur du roi or the King’s interior cabinet this “corner cabinet”, as it was commonly called, enjoys a double exhibition on the cour de Marbre  and cour Royale.  King Louis XV was glad to be there and it was from this balcony that he attended, tears in his eyes, the departure of the funeral convoy carrying Madame de Pompadour, a winter evening of 1764.

The cabinet des dépeches or Cabinet of despatches occupies the location of the Oval lounge that king Louis XIV had made in 1692. It is adorned with Corinthian pilasters and four niches with bronze bands, including the famous Les Chenes de l’Algarde ( taken to the Louvre), this lounge gave access to the right to the  Petite Galerie or small gallery and left  the Cabinet de Coquilles or  shells  cabinet. Here king  Louis XIV kept his manuscripts and his most precious books, as well as some twenty paintings including the rustic Concert of Titian (in  Louvre). In 1754, the shells cabinet disappeared to make way for the king’s recess and the Oval lounge was replaced by a back cabinet and a chair cabinet.

La chambre de la Vaisselle d’or or the room of the golden dishes ,it is the former interior cabinet of Madame Adelaide, the apartment which she occupied on the first floor of the castle between 1752 and 1769, had been laid out on the site of the Petite Galerie and the Escalier des Ambassadeurs Madame Adelaide had at the time of this service two of the greatest playwrights of the 18C;  Goldoni, who taught her Italian, and Beaumarchais who was her harp teacher. Later, king Louis XV, who took his coffee here, exhibited his golden dishes. Louis XVI placed the extraordinary cabinet in ebony and mahogany, covered with porcelain plates decorated with bird feathers and butterfly wings. On the chimney, is arranged a beautiful bust of king Louis XV child . The two porcelain plates of Sèvres, representing the toilet of the Sultan and the Sultan giving orders to the odalisques  were ordered by king Louis XVI for his interior cabinets.

The chambre de la cassette  or cassette room were the baths of King’s;  one of the last works commissioned by king Louis XV. The style of the woodwork, which reproduces engravings evoking the aquatic pleasures in medallions lined with reeds and narcissus, with effects of dull gold, gold burnished (shiny) and green gold, attests to a new taste. 

The Bibliothéque or Library of king Louis XVI, was designed by the architect Gabriel shortly before the death of Louis XV in 1774, was both the first order of the young Louis XVI and the last intervention of the architect at Versailles. Already benefiting from several libraries in the upper floors, the king hastened however the work of this vast room which has the advantage of being on the ground floor with his apartment. 

The Salle à manger des porcelains or the porcelain dining room  was created under king Louis XV in 1769 for its hunting return suppers. It occupies the location of two rooms of the former apartment of Madame Adelaide, one of which, overlooking the courtyard, was its large cabinet where, in all likelihood, the young Mozart appeared before the royal family in early 1764. The play was mainly used by Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

The salon des jeux or  Games’s room of king Louis XVI originally, there was the Cabinet des Curiosités or curiosities of king Louis XIV . After several intermediate states, it was used by king Louis XVI as a games room. After the meal in the dining room, the diners went there for coffee and to play. The king would gladly sit at a table in backgammon, while his brothers played one in the billiards in the next room, the other in the whist.

Behind the Grand Appartement  or large apartment, the Queen had small rooms reserved for her private use and serving her maids. Marie Leszczynska withdrew to read, paint, meditate or receive her most intimate visits. Marie‑Antoinette extended the estate by arranging new rooms on the upper floor (like a billiard parlor) and went so far as to build up a real small summer apartment on the ground floor, overlooking the cour de Marbre, featuring bedroom, Library and bathroom.  The Cabinet Doré or  gilded cabinet created for Marie Leszczynska in 1735, this room has been modified several times by Marie-Antoinette. Its current aspect dates from the last Transformation in 1784.

The Cabinet de la Méridienne or meridian  has a peculiar form of this boudoir, with its cut panels, allowed the Queen’s service to move from the Grand chamber  to the other cabinets without disturbing the sovereign who, at mid-day, came to rest, hence her name  Méridienne. It was in 1781, after Marie Antoinette had finally given birth to an heir, that the room received its definitive woodwork, whose motifs, were also prolonged in bronze to be applied on the window-doors. The allegorical vocabulary used ,celebrates the young prince (the Dauphin), the royal couple (the eagle of Jupiter symbolizing the king and the Peacock of Juno, the Queen) and conjugal love (garlands of roses, bow and arrows).

The Bibliothèque or library of Marie-Antoinette was transferred to Paris after the French revolution and is now largely preserved at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. This room was arranged for the Queen between 1779 and 1781 in high glazed cabinets all around; Inside these, an ingenious rack system allows easy adjustment of the height of the shelves. The Queen also owned a library in the Petit Trianon, whose books are now predominantly preserved at the Bibliothèque municipale de Versailles.

The cabinet du Billard or billiards cabinet on the second floor. One of them, whose silk were returned and the sofas delivered , served as a billiards room. The other rooms, with a very sober decor, are now home to a part of the museum’s collections relating to Marie-Antoinette. The salon d’Hercule had a decoration that  began in 1712. It is located at the site of the old chapel, destroyed in 1710 and represents the Apotheosis of Hercules. On the wall of the bottom is exposed a huge canvas of Veronese offered by the Republic of Venice to King Louis XIV in 1664, the Repas chez Simon. The layout of the room was completed in 1736, but the inauguration took place only in 1739, by a “bal Paré” given on the occasion of the marriage of the eldest daughter of king Louis XV with the Infant of Spain. The Salon of Hercules served as a setting for exceptional “big cutlery” (in 1769 for the marriage of the Duke of Chartres, or in 1782 for the birth of the Dauphin).

The Opéra Royale or Royal Opera of the Château de Versailles is an opera house built under king Louis XV at the end of the north wing of the castle; the construction was begun in 1768 under the order of the king by anticipation of the marriages of his children, the construction lasted two years and the opera was inaugurated on May 16 1770 during the marriage of king Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette of Austria.

The Chapelle Royale or royal Chapel was completed at the end of the reign of king Louis XIV, in 1710. It is the fifth – and last – chapels that have succeeded each other in the castle since Louis XIII. The first architect died in 1708 without seeing the end of the work that was completed by his brother-in-law. The ceiling of the vault, is consecrated to the Holy Trinity: in the center, God the Father in His glory, in the apse the Resurrection and, above the Royal Tribune, the Descent of the Holy. The king only descended for the great religious feasts in which he had, for the ceremonies of the Order of the Holy Spirit, for the baptisms and for the marriages of the children of France who were celebrated there from 1710 to 1789.

The Galerie des Glaces or hall of mirrors replaces a large open terrace on the garden. The work begins in 1678 to finish in 1684.  After the victory over the three arrayed powers, represented at Salon de la Guerre , the gallery exalts the political, economic and artistic successes of France throughout its 73 meters. Political successes are shown such as the glorious history of king Louis XIV during the first 18 years of his personal government, from 1661 to the peace of Nijmegen. By their dimensions and by their number , the 357 mirrors that adorn the 17 arcades facing the windows attest that the new French mirrors manufacturing factory is able to delight in Venice the monopoly of mirrors, then objects of great luxury. Artistic success: The marble pilasters of Rance adorn themselves with gilded bronze capitals of a new model called “The French Order”. It presents National emblems: A flower of lys surmounted by the royal sun between two Gallic Roosters. The Galerie des Glaces was used daily as a place of passage, waiting and meetings, frequented by the courtiers and the visitors ‘ audience. It served only exceptionally as a framework for ceremonies, when the sovereigns wanted to give the greatest sparkle to entertainment offered on the occasion of princely weddings or diplomatic receptions. The throne was then installed on a stage at the end of the gallery, on the side of the Salon de la Paix or Peace room whose arcade was closed. The staging of power has seldom reached such a degree of ostentatiousness. Thus the Doge of Genoa in 1685, the Ambassadors of Siam 1686, Persia (1715) and the Ottoman Empire (1742), had to cross the entire gallery, under the eyes of the court massaged on each side on bleachers to reach the king. It was also here that the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the Great War or WWI, was signed on 28 June 1919. Since then, the Presidents of the Republic continue on occasions to receive the official hosts of France.

The Salon de la Guerre is built from 1678. The decoration, completed in 1686, exalts the military victories that culminated in the peace of Nijmegen. The walls are clad with marble panels adorned with six trophies and arms falls in gilded bronze. The wall on the side of the salon of Apollo is occupied by a bas-relief oval stucco representing king Louis XIV on horseback treading at his feet his enemies. This masterpiece is surmounted by two famous gilded and supported by two chained captives. Below, in the bas-relief obscuring the opening of a false chimney, Clio, Muse of the history, set for posterity the achievements of the king. The dome ceiling represents in the center of France armed, sitting on a cloud and surrounded by victories. A portrait of king Louis XIV adorns his shield. In the covings are represented his three defeated enemies: Germany on his knees, with an eagle; Threatening Spain, with a roaring lion and Holland overthrown on another lion. The fourth arch represents Belloe, the goddess of War, in fury between rebellion and discord.

The Salon de la Paix or Peace room presents the same decor of marble panels and trophies of gilded and chiselled bronze arms as the Salon de la Guerre that is symmetrical. However, the brown adorned  cupola and the covings of the blessings of the peace given by France to Europe. At the end of the reign of king Louis XIV, this living room was separated from the gallery by a movable bulkhead and considered to be part of the Queen’s apartment, from which it was the last room after the chamber. It was there that under Louis XV, Marie Leszczynska gave every Sunday concerts of profane or religious music which played an important role in the musical life of Versailles, and that, in the following reign, Marie-Antoinette held her game. When necessary, the partition separating the room from the gallery was dismantled and the living room was again part of the large apartment.

In the19C, Versailles knew a new destiny and became a museum of the history of France, dedicated “to all the glories of France”, according to the will of Louis-Philippe, who became king of the French in 1830. The collections, mainly composed of paintings and sculptures, are enriched until the beginning of the 20C.

The Salles des Croisades or halls of the Crusades created, in 1837, of these five rooms installed in the north wing fully fits into the vogue of the Middle Ages that developed under the reign of Louis-Philippe. In the largest of the halls, king Louis-Philippe placed the Cedar Gate from the hospital of the order of Saint-Jean-de-Jerusalem of Rhodes and offered to him by Sultan Mahmoud II.

The salles d’Afrique, de Crimée et d’Italie or halls of Africa, Crimea and Italy designate a set of seven rooms on the first floor of the north wing. The first three, to which a monumental staircase allows access, were consecrated, by the will of Louis-Philippe, to the illustration of the conquest of Algeria between 1830 and 1847. The hall called Constantine shows the siege and the taking of the city in October 1837. On both sides of this room, two other pieces are dedicated to the capture of the Smala of Abdelkader  in 1843  shown a canvas of 20 meters long and 5 meters high, the other to the French successes in Morocco , preceding to the Tangier Treaty of 1844. Napoleon III took over the extension of this ensemble to celebrate his own military triumphs in the Crimea (taken from Sevastopol, 1855) and in Italy (Victory of Solferino, 1859). Finally, the Third Republic concludes this monumental collection by the evocation of the War of 1870  with the  Charge of Reichshoffen, 1887. These halls now serve as a place for the presentation of temporary exhibitions and are rarely visible in their entirety.

The salles de l’Empire or halls of the Empire in the ground floor of the Midi Wing, under the Gallery of battles, is occupied by a set of thirteen halls that date from the first developments undertaken by Louis-Philippe in Versailles to illustrate the military campaigns of the Directoire , the consulate and the Empire. The  attiques du nord et du midi or attics of north and south offer today long threads where is exposed most of the collections of paintings of the museum, according to a chronological  order which leads from the French revolution to the celebration of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 at the end of the north wing.

The appartement des Mesdames or Ladies’s apartments occupy the north of the central body. They were transformed into museum halls by Louis-Philippe and later restored in their state of princely apartments.  Mesdames de France or the Ladies of France, as the daughters of king Louis XV were called, settled there from 1752. But only two of them, Adelaide and Victoire, lived them until the French revolution. The first antichamber of Madame Victoire is the former cabinet of the Baths of Louis XIV. Interior Cabinet of the Comte de Toulouse from 1692 to 1724, from the Countess of Toulouse from 1724 to 1750 and finally from Madame Adelaide from 1752 to 1753. Room of Madame Sophie from 1755 to 1767, she then becomes the first chamber of this princess, then in 1769 that of Madame Victoire.  The second room of Madame Victoire is the old chamber of the baths, whose floor and walls were clad in marble.  At the bottom, in an alcove framed with marble columns, was placed a bed of rest. Which was then the Chamber of the Count of Toulouse, then of the Countess of Toulouse, then of Madame Adelaide and finally of Madame Victoire when she shared this Apartment with her sisters Sophie and Louise. In 1767, the alcove was abolished and the room became the second antichamber of Madame Victoire’s new apartment.

The Grand Cabinet of Madame Victoire;  originally, the room was the octagonal cabinet of the apartment of the Baths of Louis XIV, one of the most original creations of the Sun King. The room of Madame Victoire this was the ionic antichamber of the apartment of the baths, so named because of the twelve marble columns that decorated it. Second Chamber of the Count of Toulouse, then of the Countess of Toulouse, then of Madame Adelaide and finally of the young ladies, she became in 1767 the room of Madame Sophie and in 1769 that of Madame Victoire. Madame Victoire’s interior cabinet it was the Doric vestibule of the apartment of the baths, separated in three bays by two rows of marble columns of Rance, which still remain behind the woodwork. This vestibule was compartmentalized from 1724 to form two antechambers for the comte and the Countess of Toulouse; This princess’s room was in turn divided in 1767 to form this small living room and the next library.

The Library of Madame Victoire  house a few books related to the arms of ladies, from their library of Versailles or that of Bellevue Castle, a box containing a collection of maps of geography that belonged to Madame Elisabeth, niece of the ladies, (sister of Louis XVI) elements of a porcelain coffee service of Sèvres with Chinese decor, delivered in 1775 for Madame Adelaide, and a table-bell in Ruddy to the figure and the arms of Madame Victoire.

The interior cabinet of Madame Adelaide this was the bedroom of the legitimized son of Louis XIV and of Madame de Montespan, the Count of Toulouse, from 1724 to 1737, then the Duke of Penthièvre, son of the latter, from 1737 to 1744, and the Duchess of Penthièvre from 1744 to 1750. It then became the Chamber of the Marquise de Pompadour, who died there on 15 April 1764. It was planned to become the Chamber of Marie-Josephus of Saxony after her widowhood in 1765, but the Dauphine died in 1767, without having been able to settle there. However, after her death, she was exposed here on a parade bed. Madame Victoire’s room from 1767 to 1769, and finally from Madame Adelaide from 1769 to 1789. 

The Grand Cabinet de Madame Adelaide was Madame de Pompadour who gave this room its present form, and the chimney of Sérancolin was laid for her. The organ installed in the niche is deemed to have been made for a member of the Royal family but its identification remains uncertain. He was placed in this room to evoke the great attraction of the children of Louis XV for the music: ladies and their brother the Dauphin played in fact more than several instruments.

The salle des Hoquetons or  called “hoquetons”, because of their tunic, the guards of the Provost of the hotel, who were charged with the internal police of the castle. This room, where they were usually held, received in 1672 a sham decor depicting trophies of arms and statues in feigned niches.

The Galerie des Batailles or gallery of Battles is the most important element of the historical galleries created in the Château de Versailles by king Louis-Philippe. It occupies almost the entire level of the south wing of the castle and is devoted to the illustration, in about thirty paintings, of nearly fifteen centuries of French military success, from Clovis to Napoleon. The gallery of battles is the most extensive part of the castle (120 meters long, 13 meters wide). It occupies almost all of the first floor of the Midi wing. Conceived and made from 1833, it is inaugurated solemnly in 1837 and then marks the highlight of the visit of the Museum of the history of France. Yes indeed, here lies Yorktown !!!

The apartment of the Marquise de Pompadour is located in the attic of the central body, above the salons of Mars, Mercury and Apollo. It was first inhabited, in 1743-1744, by the Duchess of Châteauroux and her sister the Duchess of Lauraguais. After the death of Madame de Châteauroux, king Louis XV gave it to Madame de Pompadour, who occupied it from September 1745 to May 1751. The king could go there discreetly, by way of his inner cabinets. 

The apartment of the Countess of Barry’s last favorite of king Louis XV,  settled in this very large apartment in 1769. The king had, a few years before, excluded these rooms from his personal use to house his daughter-in-law, Marie-Josephus of Saxony, widow since 1765. The latter disappeared two years later and the vacant accommodation was awarded to Madame du Barry. The apartment, which takes up both the cour de Marbre and the cour des Cerfs or deer’s yard, is sumptuous.

King Louis XIV revamped his interior apartment several times. The major transformation took place in 1701, when the sovereign’s Chamber is installed at its current location in the center of the façade to the cour de Marbre. Beyond these halls, whose access is strictly hierarchical and regulated by the rank and etiquette ; all the following parts constitute the private domain of the sovereign to which, in principle, no one can have access if he is not invited.

The Salle des Guards or guard’s  room  marks, as in all the royal residences, the entrance of the apartment. His décor is voluntarily sober. It constantly welcomes the bodyguards who take turns every twenty-four hours to ensure the protection of the sovereign.

The antichambre du grand-couvert or antichamber of the grand-covered was the room where king Louis XIV was accustomed to supper in public from 1690, after the death of the Queen and that of the Dauphine. It is adorned with a series of eleven battles, and a twelfth painting depicting the Battle of Arbèles.

The Salon de l’Oeil-de-Boeuf or  the ox-eye second room of the royal apartment.  The Salon de l’oeil-de-Boeuf is a strategic point of the royal apartment: to the north, it leads to the king’s chamber; In the West, high mirrors doors open directly to the Galerie des Glaces and allow courtiers to enter or leave the king; On the south wall, to the right of the window, a door leads directly to the Queen, while a staircase, opening on the east wall, leads to the Dauphin’s apartment, located on the ground floor.

The Chambre du Roi or King’s room . Louis XIV transferred his room to the vast living room of nearly 90 sq meters in 1701 , located in the center of the east façade of the castle.  The most important and symbolic piece of the royal apartment, the room serves at several moments of the day: the King holds the ceremonies of “Sunrise” and “bedtime”, dines at his “little cover” and can receive some courtiers or ambassadors. It was in this Chamber that Louis XIV died, on 1 September 1715, after 72 yrs of rule.  The sumptuous decor of gold and silver brocade on the crimson background of the room is embellished with paintings, chosen by Louis XIV himself: four paintings depicting the evangelists and the denarii of Caesar, ; Agar and the angel ; Above-the-door, Saint John the Baptist  Mary Magdalene . On the chimneys, are placed a bust of Louis XIV  a pendulum-barometer as well as four candelabras that belonged to the count of Provence, brother of Louis XVI (later king Louis XVIII).

The Cabinet du Conseil or Cabinet of the Council adjoining the King’s Chamber, opened on the Galerie des Glaces ,took its present form in 1755, under king Louis XV. It is  decorated with decorative motifs illustrating the subjects addressed by the King in his council: war, Justice … The decoration also includes a rock-style pendulum (1754), a bust of Alexander the Great in Porphyry and two vases of Mars and Minerva, in porcelain of Sèvres and bronze,  (1787). The piece also served as a framework for official presentations, a step necessary to be admitted to the court. Mme Du Barry, among many others, made her reverence in 1769. Overlooking the parterre du midi , the Queen’s large apartment is symmetrical to the king’s large apartment . But, unlike the ruler who, from the reign of Louis XIV, left his large apartment, the Queen continued to occupy hers, which explains why the decor was altered several times during the 18C. 

The Queen’s Chamber it was there again that the deliveries were held in public: Nineteen “children of France” were born there. The decor retains the memory of the three queens who occupied the room: the compartmentalization of the ceiling goes back to the Queen Marie-Thérèse, but the paintings in grey were made for Marie Leszczinska. All these elements were preserved from the time of Marie Antoinette. During the invasion of the castle by the rioters (French revolution)  in 1789, Marie-Antoinette managed to escape them through the small left door of the alcove opening onto a corridor giving access to the Queen’s inner cabinets, a dozen small rooms reserved for her privacy and service.

The Salon de Nobles or nobles’ room is the antechamber under Queen Marie-Thérèse, it was in this room that Mary Leszczinska granted her solemn hearings, seated under a dais. She also held her circle, as we called this time of conversation settled with the ladies of the court. Marie Antoinette had the decoration remade entirely, preserving only the paintings of the ceiling, and for her, the walls of Damascus green apple bordered with a large gold braid. 

The antechamber du grand couvert or  antichamber of the grand cover  was where the public meals were held, the sumptuous ritual of which attracted many people. Only members of the royal family could sit at the table and, in front of them, seated, the duchesses, princesses or holders of high rank having the privilege of the stool, then, standing, the other ladies and persons who, by their rank or with The bailiffs ‘ authorization had come in. 

The Salle des Gardes or guard’s room was outside of the Queen’s Staircase, also known as “marble Staircase”, was penetrated into the Queen’s large apartment by this guards’ room, where, day and night, twelve bodyguards performed their service with the sovereign. In Versailles, only the king, Queen and Dolphin could have a personal guard consisting of soldiers belonging to these elite units, the four companies of the King’s bodyguards.

The next large hall, now known as the Salle  du Sacre or sacred room was also affected. It  used to serve as a bodyguard room. The salle des Gardes de la Reine or the Queen’s guards room is the only room where the décor of the 17C has been preserved.

Well I told it was going to be long, I believe my longest post yet. However, all worth it, hope it helps understand my beloved Versailles, the castle is just a part. And behold, you can print this post and take it with you to the palace, and I am sure will help undertand the history and architecture of it a lot better me think. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

6 Comments to “The Chateau de Versailles, interiors !!!”

  1. Just my opinion but the post needs some pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

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