Archive for August 26th, 2021

August 26, 2021

The Pièce d’Eau des Suisses of Versailles !!

Coming along on my tour of Versailles to show you places off the beaten path away from the palace/museum property to see more of my Versailles. Yes you know it , Versailles has a lot more things to see than the palace/museum. Let me tell you about the water pond of the Swiss!!

The Piéce d’Eau des Suisses  is right across the Orangerie (see post) area on the road D10 to St Cyr l’école. Many afternoons on weekends picnicking there with the family on the shadows of the only statue to king Louis XVI in Versailles and one of only five in France still standing. The others are in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique dept 44), at the Esplanade du Maréchal Foch , it is still today , for most of the people of Nantes,the Place Louis XVI.  Also,  in Bécherel (Ille-et-Vilaine dept 35 Brittany), in the park of the Château de Caradeuc; at the Loroe-Bottereau (Loire-Atlantique dept 44), near the Church; in Sorèze, in the park of the Royal School; And in Nant (Aveyron dept 12), in the entrance to the city/town hall , even if here very much damaged and hardly recognisable, last I saw several years back.


La pièce d’eau des Suisses is a part of the Domaine de Versailles , but apart from it as told above. It was built between 1679 and 1682, and owes its name to having been dug by a regiment of Swiss guards. It was created to drain the Potager du Roi or King’s vegetable garden (see post).  This 682 meters long, by 234 meters wide water pond with a surface of 15 hectares has an average depth of 1.70 meters ( the park is about 25 ha). It is located as above on the D10 road across from the Orangerie. This axis includes from north to south the basin of Neptune, the allée d’eau and the parterre du nord, the parterre d’eau , parterre du midi (situated above the Orangerie) ,and the parterre de l’Orangerie ,and finally the pièce d’eau des Suisses.

It was an octagonal shape, it was enlarged towards 1678 by the Swiss Guards in the service of King Louis XIV. A final enlargement in 1682 that gives it its rounded ends. At its southern extremity an equestrian statue representing Louis XVI later replaced by a copy, the original is in the Orangerie. The Piéce d’eau des Suisses runs along the Potager du Roi or king’s vegetable garden, which it could be access on this side by the Royal Grill gate. It is bordered by a double aisle of two-century plane trees, many of which suffered damage during the storm of 1999. Under the old regime, this piece d’eau was often the scene of nautical festivals. Nowadays it is free to all and has become a Sunday family picnic place. And it was our family place on many Sundays.

Some webpages I could find to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Versailles tourist office on the Swiss pond

The Château de Versailles on the Swiss pond

There you go folks, another wonderful sort of off the beaten path spot in my Versailles. It is a nice park full of history and wonderful for the whole family to walk , take a break from the long tours of the palace/museum and even do try a picnic; its awesome. Hope you enjoy as we do.

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

August 26, 2021

Osmothéque of Versailles!

Back to my beloved Versailles. This one is so off the beaten path things to see in the city that you need reservation from the city tourist office or the Osmothéque itself. It is not open any time you need to make prior reservation ok. Just to show you Versailles has some unique places, a lot more than most think of only the palace/museum! I will update text and links for you and me. Hope you enjoy it as I.  This a perfum museum sort of or a historical reservoir of scents going back milleniums, and is call the Osmothéque of Versailles. They claim to be the World’s only frangrance archives! I have been once out of curiosity taken advantage of my boys school trip here. But if you are into perfumes well forget the others come to the roots of it at Versailles!

The Osmothéque museum , archives as you like is located at 36 Rue du Parc de Clagny,  inside the school ISIPCA (Institut supérieur international du parfum, de la cosmétique et de l’aromatique alimentaire or in my best English ; International Higher Institute of Perfume, Cosmetics and Food Aromatics). You can reach it from Paris Saint Lazare to my old Rive Droite train station in Versailles end of terminus. Once at train station go out and turn right on Rue du Maréchal Foch , bear right and turn right at Avenue du Général Mangin and continue on same street later name Avenue de Villeneuve l’Etang ,take a quick left into 36 Rue du Parc de Clagny, the Osmothéque is on your right hand side of the street. I never measure it but google says is 1,2 km or 16 minutes walking, and I tell you doing this into nice residencial neighborhood.  Or if like to take the wonderful Phebus bus network   from the Rive Droite train station take bus line 3   stop/arrêt “De Bange” ou “Saint-Jean” ou “Place La Boulaye”) or bus line 1 stop/arrêt “De Bange”. For the information/reservation call +33 (0) 1 39 23 70 00. 

Versailles parfums-museum-osmothéque

The Osmothèque, is the only conservatory tracing the history of perfumery. Founded in 1990 by Jean Kerléo and other confirmed perfumers, such as Jean-Claude Ellena and Guy Robert, the Osmothèque is responsible at the international level for the authentication, registration, preservation, documentation and reproduction of fragrances, all archived in their original formulation at the Osmothèque depot and viewable by the public. There are a large number of masterpieces of perfumery, including some rare fragrances (because they are no longer produced elsewhere or according to the same formula) as the Cyprus of François Coty, the Eau de Cologne extra old by Jean-Marie Farina or even the Royal Fern of Paul Parquet. Many historical fragrances are also available, such as those of Elisabeth of Poland, Napoleon 1er or Eugénie de Montijo (wife Napoleon III).

A bit of history I like

The creation of this first conservatory of perfume was initially proposed to the French Society of Perfumers in 1976 by Jean Kerléo, perfumer at Jean Patou, in order to record and preserve the history of perfumery. When in 1988, the project received the support of both the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Versailles-Val-d’Oise-Yvelines and the French Perfume Committee, a storage facility was provided at the premises of ISIPCA (see above). The Osmothèque was officially founded on April 26, 1990 with a first collection of 400 fragrances including reproductions of the Osmothèque and products supplied by perfume houses such as Chanel, Guerlain or Lanvin.

The Osmothèque represents the largest perfume archive in the world, storing more than 4 000 fragrances of the present and past (including 800 extinct), mostly in their original formulation and preserved at a constant temperature under argon atmosphere. The fragrances present in the collection are either reconstituted from the formulas archived by   the Osmothèque’s internal perfumers (known as osmothécaires) or supplied by external perfume houses, analysed and authenticated by the Osmothécaires archivists. As legal deposit archives, the Osmothèque receives a supply of all the new perfumes produced in France and a large part of the world, in addition to those obtained by its program of acquisition of compositions. The institution also collects a library of materials used in perfumery, both natural and synthetic, historical and contemporary. A vault, inaccessible to the public, finally contains the historical fragrance formulas, unfortunately largely unusable because of the raw materials not found today. In the rarities contained in the Osmothèque are included elements of ancient perfumery, as the Royal scent of the Parthian kings described by Pliny the Elder in the 1C, medieval eau de cologne of the 14C as the water of Elisabeth of Poland’s Hungary and powders of the 18C as the powder of Cyprus The collection also counts 19C perfumes of houses such as Farina, Guerlain, Houbigant, Lubin, F. Mayo, L.T. Piver and Roger & Gallet, including the Eau de Cologne extra old by Jean-Marie Farina of 1806 and the Imperial Eau de Cologne of Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain created for Emperatrice Eugénie de Montijo in 1853. In the same period there is also the Eau de Cologne made for Napoleon in 1815 during his exile on the island of St. Helena. Most of the archives of the Osmothèque is devoted to modern perfumery (beginning at the end of the 19C), presenting countless original masterpieces now extinct or reformulated, as the forbidden Fruit of Rosine fragrances created by Henri Alméras, the Cyprus and Emerald of François Coty, Le Tabac blond de Caron by Ernest Daltroff, Jicky of Aimé Guerlain, Royal Fern of Paul Parquet for Houbigant or even Parfum Idéal by Houbigant. Countless bestsellers are also present in their original formulas such as Chanel No. 5 created by Ernest Beaux, Shalimar by Jacques Guerlain and the Eau Savage of Christian Dior by Edmond Roudnitska.

The Osmothèque also publishes books on the theme of perfumes, in addition to a bilingual periodical entitled The News of the Osmothèque, available online and at the bookshop of the Osmothèque.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are:

The official Osmothéque of Versailles webpage:

The Yvelines dept 78 tourist office on the Osmothéque of Versailles:

There you go folks, a wonderful off the beaten path Osmothéque even in popular Versailles! Yes we have perfumes too amazing isn’t it!  Hope you the post and do visit worth your while.  And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

August 26, 2021

Saint Louis Cathedral of Versailles!

And another dandy spot of my beloved Versailles. This is a bit of anecdote for me, I saw later while living there, in another district (Saint Louis) is like another town, and there is a revolutionary veil behind it . Maybe one reason not taken time to take pictures here, the one shown the front is from my sons school hangout restaurant!!! I lived at Notre Dame district !!!I came eventually as my sons gathered around a resto near it while lunch or even after school and needed to get them there, but did finally saw the theme of this post. The Saint Louis Cathedral of Versailles. Another of the most see while in Versailles and to get away from just the palace/museum; as said, Versailles has a lot more to offer; its like coming to Paris and not seeing Notre Dame Cathedral!

versailles cat-st-louis-side

The Cathédrale de Saint Louis is a rock-style church built by the architect Jacques Hardouin-Mansart de Sagonne. It was blessed on August 25, 1754, Saint Louis Day, and chosen as a Cathedral for the creation of the Bishopric of Versailles in 1802, (as the French revolution Concordia did not want to name the Royal Notre Dame Collegiate Church (see post), but was consecrated only in 1843. The facade, adorned with Corinthian and Doric columns is flanked by two lateral towers for the bells, capped with bulbs characteristic of the rock-style, gilded. A dome topped by a baluster-shaped arrow, also gilded in the past, is arranged over the cross-aisle.

A bit of history I like

The church of the village of Versailles, before the construction of the castle, was dedicated to Saint Julien de Brioude. This church was demolished in 1681. On its site was built the grand commun (see post). The Church of St. Julien was rebuilt in the new city, and it ,also had a fleeting existence. In 1684, Louis XIV laid the first stone of a new building: the parish of Notre-Dame (the Royal historical Church that should be the Cathedral) which gave its name to the district (my district).

From 1725, at the corner of the rue de Satory and rue d’Anjou, near the Potager du roi (see post), a temporary chapel of about thirty meters, flanked by a collateral and surrounded by a cemetery, was built. It began to buried folks there in April 1727, and was baptized on May 1728. The foundations were started in June 1742. The first stone was solemnly laid by the Archbishop of Paris on June 12, 1743. Louis XV placed himself in a cavity dug for this purpose a gold medal and four silver medals, then proceeded to the sealing of the stone of Assisi. The Church of St. Louis was indeed completed only twelve years later. The inauguration passed without fanfare on August 24, 1754, without the presence of the Royal family because the Dauphine, Marie-Joséphe de Saxe, had given birth on the eve of a son (the future Louis XVI!!).

The St. Louis Church underwent few transformations until the French revolution and its history was devoid of major events, the Royal Parish remaining at the Church of Notre-Dame. However, when the general states of 1789 were opened, it was in Saint-Louis that the solemn procession (departing from Notre-Dame Church) surrendered and it was from the pulpit of the church that the Bishop of Nancy denounced the abuses of the court. Several meetings of the States General also were held in Saint-Louis during the month of June 1789. On the 22nd, the oath of the jeu de Paume was renewed.

In 1790, Versailles became the seat of a bishopric. The first constitutional bishop, chose Notre-Dame for Cathedral. Subsequently, the Church of St. Louis was closed and, most of the objects of worship having been confiscated, turned into a temple of abundance. It was given the attributes; on the façade a ploughman was even painted on the front facade of the church. As soon as the Catholic cult was restored (after 1802), the constitutional (revolutionary) bishop who had succeeded preferred St. Louis to Notre-Dame (of course the Royal pantheon) and thus this church finally became the Cathedral. On January 3, 1805, Pope Pius VII, who came to Paris for the coronation of Emperor Napoleon I, was welcomed into St. Louis Cathedral by the first Bishop of the Cathedral.

The architecture of it on the exterior:

The Cathedral Saint Louis is done in a traditional Latin cross plan of Gothic style with a central nave, collateral flanked by chapels, protruding transept, choir surrounded by an ambulatory interrupted by the axial chapel dedicated to the Virgin.The Cathedral is oriented north-south, in the meantime to that of Notre-Dame, since the Council of Trent no longer imposed the traditional east-west orientation. The master altar was once placed at the back of the choir, constituting the sanctuary. The current location is more in line with the Council of Vatican II, the priest officiating against the faithful and not his back turned. The façade is located on an eight-degree step and has two levels. Three doors pierce the lower level. Six Doric columns flank the main; The two side doors of two columns of the same order. The second level, which reigns only on the central part, repeats exactly the layout of the ground floor. It opens on a full-hanger bay in the upper part of which a clock was placed. Above, the façade is crowned with a triangular pediment enthroned with a golden cross. It is adorned with a winged royal crest whose lilies were hammered at the time of the French revolution.   The two lateral towers are punctuated with Doric pilasters forming protruding, surmounted by stone vases. They are capped with bulbs according to the Rococo tradition to cover the steeples.

The architecture on the Interior we have in brief:

It reflects this somewhat cold nobility, softened by the delicacy of style in honor under Louis XV. The nave, with five spans, is chanted with pilasters engaged in a rather thin relief, cushioned by Corinthian capitals. They are framed with garlands of roses. On the other side of the façade, the stone tribune is supported by a large bow that is leaning on both sides on a console. It gets up in brace to wear the organ buffet of Clicquot. Above the large arcades, the Cathedral is illuminated by spectacular bays whose vaults penetrate the nave, according to the usual process used at that time. 93 meters high, the nave is covered with a penetrating vault.

versailles cat-st-louis-chapel

The square of the transept is covered with a dome on carved pendants. It is itself surmounted by a second cap with a low dome, the sculptures of which were never finished, as the presence of the stones shows. The choir, circular, has three bays and an apse.The ambulatory that surrounds the choir stops at the height of the axial chapel. The chapels that flank the collateral and the ambulatory are dedicated, on the left side, to Saint Julien, to the Departed, to Sainte Geneviève and to Saint Peter. Beyond the left arm of the transept is the Ecce Homo Chapel, those of Saint Francis, Saint Vincent de Paul, the Sacred Heart and Saint Joseph. On the right side, the Chapel of the baptismal fonts is first presented, followed by the presentation of the Most Holy Virgin and Saint Charles. Beyond the transept, the three chapels that surround the choir are dedicated to the Good Shepherd, Saint Louis, and Saint John the Baptist.  The chapel of Providence adjoins, on the left, the chapels of Ecce Homo and Saint Francis. We penetrate them from the inside.

versailles cat-st-louis-chapel-2

The great historical organ commissioned in 1759 on the order of Louis XV to Louis-Alexandre Clicquot was completed in 1761 by François-Henri Clicquot (his son). Blessed on the eve of Toussaint 1761, it will cross unscathed the revolutionary period, not undergoing, thanks to the intelligence of the lord of the city of Versailles, that the removal of three large flowers of wooden lilies on the buffet.   On 4 May 1789 the organ participated in the mass of the States General convened by Louis XVI.

This is one of the marvels of Versailles still pretty much remaining in the off the beaten path level. The city of Versailles did a study where 98% of visitors only come to the palace/museum! what a pity, there is so much more to show you; do some walking. Enjoy my Versailles!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official St Louis Cathedral webpage:

The city of Versailles tourist office on the cathedral

There you go folks, another dandy in the Cathedral Saint Louis of Versailles. Hope you enjoy it as much as I.  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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