Curiosities of my Versailles !!!

And you can tell ,love the history of the places I go, not just for a pretty picture or nice walk but to know their history and meaning in our world. A complete world traveler and or road warrior indeed. None the least in my dear old home of Versailles, Yvelines dept 78 of the Île de France region of my belle France. Therefore, let me tell you building with historical curiosities of my Versailles in my black and white series, no pictures. Hope you enjoy the lecture as I.

I like to bring you back to my dear Versailles , memories forever, they were 9 wonderful years spent in this marvelous royal city that we will remember forever. I have written plenty on it in my blog, but let me tell you some new curiosities of this royal city of Versailles.

By 11 rue Carnot you see the Maison Modéle was one of the creations of the new city;it was in charge of the maintenance of the fountains, At the beginning there were 11 fountains of drinkable water in the neigborhood of Notre Dame,(mine!) , the water came from the forest of Marly and Les Chesnay, The house dates from 1683 , was one of the first ones built under the new regulations of Louis XIV, By 1866, the house becomes a lodging home of many.

Nearby at 5 rue Carnot you had the stables of the queen or horse city now you have here the appeals courthouse, These stables were built in 1672 and were those of the king before becoming of the queen in 1682, the first one Marie Thérése d’Austria , It stayed that of the queen and dauphine until the French revolution, The horses were big in Versailles and stables were all over ,you know the big ones Grande and Petite Ecuries.

I have mentioned briefly the house at 24 rue de la Chancellerie that now houses the national conservatory of music, dance , and dramatic arts, This is in the mansion Hôtel de la Chancellerie built in 1672 for the chancellor of the king, Here was a great party in honor of the duchess Marie Adelaide de Savoie that finished by 8h next morning ! This was the time of many parties in Versailles! As the cabinets de bal attest in this building. If the buildings of the Midi and Nord wings (palace) house many guests in these times, by 1700 most of the nobles lived in the city.

I have, also, briefly mentioned by rue des Récollets corner of rue Saint Julien the church des Récollets with a nice tympan front ! The first stone was posed by Louis XIV in 1684, this was done after demolishing the old church Saint Julien and built the Grand Commun nearby. So a replacement church was done in the Récollets. In 1793 it was turned into a prison and in 1796 to create a new street extending that of rue Saint Julien until the Jeu de Paume made necessary the demolition of the nave, There were rumeurs of a sale to build a luxury hotel here with Arabs investors, ready for the Paris Olympiad of 2024.

You have the headquarters of the fountain men or the water service of the city at 1Bis Rue Robert de Cotte, This was link to the hydraulic pumps that serve the gardens of the palace of Versailles. The building house a huge tank of 1200 cubic meters held by pylons in stone of 13 meters high, the construction of the building was done in 1684, The building construction precipitated the demolition of the cave of Téthys, The tank was demolished in turn early 19C there are still very nice remains to be seen, At the entrance of this building today you can read in the front door water service or service des eaux, and on the right by rue Peintre Lebrun you see a small building in stone with a window on rue Robert de Cotte , this was a mansion that was there before the construction of the hq of the fountain men , The fountain men were lodge at 14 rue Hoche near the Church Notre Dame and near where André Le Nôtre lived at 16 rue Hoche, these mansions today gone.

And I go on, by 4-6 rue de l’Independance Américaine you see the superintendence of the king’s buildings, built in 1683 for the duke of Mortemart Here was house the chef architect of the buildings of Versailles like Jean Baptiste Colbert, The building personnel was moved in 1701 to the No 9 of the same street by Jules Hardouin Mansart in charge since 1699, When the French revolution, the last superintendant the count of Angivillier leaves for Germany leaving his wife behind, She was allowed to stay here until her passing in 1808.

Nearby at 3 rue de l’Independance Américaine you have the former Hôtel de la Guerre or war ministry, It was taken in 1758 on the spot of the old vegetable garden of king Louis XIII. The building of five floors was done between 1759 and 1760. In 1762 Louis XV came to inspect the building before putting the archives inside.

In continuation of this street and in addition to what I have already written on this building at 5 rue de l’Independance Américaine the former Hôtel de la Marine et des Affaires Etrangéres or Navy and Foreign Affairs Mansion, Today is the Municipal Library, The biggest gallery here with seven rooms still preserving its decorations, Beautiful paintings depicting the Vatican, St Peter of Rome, Warsaw, Turin, Genoa, Berlin, Vienna, Naples,Madrid, London, Lisbon, Constantinople (Istanbul) and Parma, The decorations also show the treaty of Paris signed in Paris in 1763 to the detriment of the English, In a marble table was signed in 1768 the treaty attaching Corsica to France and in 1783 that which England recognised the independence of the United States of America. This table and the archives has disappear and replaced by old books. These books came from the confiscation after the French revolution from the libraries of the nobles that had left Versailles.

I take you now to the former Hôtel des Gens d’Armes de la Garde du Roi or mansion of the King’s guards, This was at 6 Avenue de Paris, now the portal is all that is left of the mansion king Louis XV ordered built in 1735, This was the exclusive guards of the kings all coming from the nobility, At the time Versailles was a military outposts with many military personnel a very heavy cost to maintain.

The police had its buildings too in Versailles, but the picturesque one was called the Guet du Roy at the corner of rue Neuve Notre Dame and rue de Pétigny, Built in 1783 under king Louis XVI, It was decided that the Prince de Poix military governor of Versailles to watch over the land of the former pond of Clagny dried up in 1736 that was a property encircling the boulevard du Roi, rue Neuve Notre Dame, rue Berthier, and rue du Maréchal Foch (pretty much where the Notre Dame market is today) near the rive droite train station was inhabited by troublesome folks so it was needed to keep an eye from this building, after the French revolution and after passing by several owners it became a small café now closed since 1996.

One of my favorite spots in Versailles is by the 7 rue des Réservoirs to see the former Hôtel de Madame de Pompadour, This building is next to the royal Opéra built in 1752, You can see today on the front of the 4th floor (5th US) you have a rococo sculpture on the arms of the marquise de Pompadour, The building was given by Louis XV to his favorite, It was sold as national property (confiscated) in 1794 during the French revolution, By 1875 it was converted into a tourist hotel under the name of Grand Hôtel des Réservoirs. By 1906-07 two floors were added,The hotel received many III Republic dignitaries (government seat in Versailles from 1871 to 1879) and foreign guests such as the Prince of Wales future king Edward VII of England. Also, Marcel Proust, Henri de Réignier, Reynaldo Hahn and Emile Zola, Since 2006 the mansion/hotel host the European School of Economic Intelligence (EEIE).

The former Hôtel des Postes at 4 rue Saint Julien or post office built in 1752 by order of Louis XV,This designate the place reserve in the stables for a run of each horse assuring transport of travelers and letters, You can see the nice front with the panel Hôtel des Postes still today.

At 21 Avenue de Paris you see the former Hôtel de Georges René Binet, now housing the chamber of commerce and industry of Versailles valley of the Oise Yvelines, Originally built in 1751 for the first valet of the king, the Georges René Binet, In 1771 when the countess of Barry last favorite of Louis XV acquired the mansion was to house her domestic service ! She had ordered enlargement but could not see them as upon the death of Louis XV in 1774 she left Versailles to the convent du Pont aux Dames near Meaux (Seine et Marne 77 today gone) ! The Count of Provence, brother of Louis XVI (and later king Louis XVIII) buys the mansion to house some of his favorites, and the stables were done , in 1780. The countess could not escape the reign of terror and guillotine on December 8 1793.

You have in dear Versailles, the Pavillon de Musique de Madame at avenue Chauchard by the 111 avenue de Paris, a bit after the much written Domaine de Madame Elizabeth (sister of Louis XVI), In this building like the music pavilion of the Mrs Marie Joséphine de Savoie Countess of Provence and sister in law of Louis XVI made built this pavillion in 1780 after buying the land from Prince de Montbarrey that needed to be in exile as not in accord with Marie Antoinette. In 1784 ;the countess ordered an English garden with a pond, chinese pavilions belvedere, small temple, cottages, dairy and music pavillion, Today only the dairy and music pavillion remain the rest was sold in the French revolution, In 1820 wings were added by the jewerlers of Louis XVIII, The guest here continue with Alfred Chauchard, the co founder of the dept store Grands magasins du Louvre (gone and replace by the Louvre des Antiquaires). Without heirs, he gives the property to the Societé du Louvre, (today Louvre Hotels Group owned by the Chinese Jin Jiang International ) of which is cut in parcels for the workers of the dept store with the only condition that his statue at avenue du Louvre in Versailles is care for.

A bit more into our days, the Hôtel de la Préfecture et du Département at 11-13 avenue de Paris, This was built between 1863 and 1867 on the spot of the former kennel of Louis XIV. A bit forgotten as it was built during the Second Empire (Napoléon III) but its rich history goes in destiny to that of the III Républic that sat in Versailles as capital of France. Adolphe Thiers leave Paris and take refuge in Versailles been chase by the Prussians, He established his apartments at the prefecture mansion, By 1873 is the turn of Mac-Mahon as President while the last legimiste pretender to the throne of France, the duke of Bordeaux, Count of Chambord grandson of Charles X, and future Henri V awaits in a house at 5 rue Saint Louis, However, the Republic is definite installed in 1875 after the count of Chambord refuse to carry the tricolor revolutionary flag and not the white flag of royal France. The government and deputies goes back to Paris in 1879, Jules Grévy the first President of the III Républic elected by parlamentarians was the last resident of this mansion.

The Versailles tourist office:

The city of Versailles on its heritage:

There you go folks, a dandy small stories of my beloved Versailles, as said, a lot more than the palace to be seen and enjoy. A nice town good for the whole family, heck it was great for mine. Hope you enjoy this post and do venture out into the city on your next visit ,when possible.

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

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