Château de Versailles!!!

And I continue with nostalgia and great memorable moments in my blog. This is a town I know very well, of course lived there!! This is Versailles where we spent 9 years of our lives in France and keep many nice memorable moments. We have re visited and have several, many posts on it in my blog. However, I like to tell you more of if from my brochures and as Friends of the Castle since 2004. This the Château de Versailles or palace. Hope you enjoy it as I.

And I bring you back to my beloved Versailles, the castle of France ! My playground with my boys and Friends of the Castle since 2004, I love to tell you more and this time on my historical point of view, we love it, Therefore, let me tell you a bit more in my black and white series,no pictures of this wonderful Château de Versailles !

In a century of colossal work ,from a simple hunting lodge, Versailles got a fabolous castle, theater of the monarchy on the road to Normandy, a royal city, with great water works, OF course, what you see today is what king of the French Louis Philippe was able to save, There is a lot more. You see the castle with grille d’Honneur, Grille Royale, Cour de Marbre, North wing and Central wing, and the stairs of the hundred steps,etc, This is the castle of 2300 rooms with a park and garden, and then more but that is the Domaine de Versailles including the Grand and Petit Trianon, and the Hameau of Marie Antoinette, and then more,,,It was just the hunting ground of king Louis XIII!

In 1607, Louis XIII at the age of 6 hunts for the first time with his father king Henri IV, Years later ,he buys the land and a hill in 1624, and soon find it small, So he ordered Philibert Le Roy to enlarge it from 1631 to 1634, king Louis XIV inherits from his father the taste of hunting and from his mother Anne of Austria the refinement, and he loves Versailles more so than Paris and the chaos (already!). He decided to enlarge it again in 1660 the year of his marriage with Maria Teresa Infanta of Spain. The work of the new castle was given to the old crew of Vaux le Vicomte, that is architect Louis Le Vau, gardener André Le Nôtre, and painter Charles Le Brun from here the Versailles style is born, In 1664 there is a big party that shows Versailles in the future, « the pleasures of the enchanted city » Moliére plays Tartulle in three acts made a scandal, By 1682 the Court and government are installed definitively in Versailles.

The Château de Versailles is 63 154 sq meters of superficie (almost 16 acres) with 50 000 open to the public,130 000 sq meters of rooftiles, 2300 rooms, 1944 windows, 352 chimneys, 67 stairs, Inside 2900 furniture and objects of art, 7000 paintings, 1500 designs, 17000 engravings, 2100 sculptures, and 6000 old books, In the garden 55 basins, 600 water jets, 350 000 trees, 1500 orange trees, 350 000 flowers planted every year, Normal years can have 15 million visitors ! The creators of Versailles are Jules Hardouin Mansart, the architect, Charles Le Brun, painter /decorator, André Le Nôtre the gardener, Ange Jacques Gabriel the master builder, Robert de Cotte, the architect after Mansart, Richard Miqué, the last architect.

During the regency after the death of Louis XIV the court leave the palace in 1715 to the Palais Royal in Paris, but comes back in 1722 by king Louis XV, The king from 1738 never uses the room of Louis XIV that for sleep. The reign of Louis XVI start in 1774 already in financial difficulties, By October 6 1789 the Royal family leaves Versailles for good, The palace is restored first by Napoléon Ier, and later by the brothers Louis XVIII and Charles X (of Louis XVI), Under the reign of Louis Philippe 1830-1848 the demolition of the castle was sought of but he gives Versailles a second chance by declaring a place of memories of France and its history so in 1837 he opened the museum/palace of Versailles for all the glories of France, Victor Hugo said, « to have accomplished this work is to have been great as a king and impartial as a philosopher, it is to have given to this magnificent book which is called the history of France, this magnificent binding which is called Versailles » !!

History always plays a rôle here at Versailles, It was here that Queen Victoria visit in 1855 ; it is in the gallery of mirrors that the German empire was founded on January 18 1871, the palace houses the National assembly of France and the government of Adolph Thiers during the commune when the two chambers stayed in Versailles until 1879, In 1919 the treaty of Versailles putting an end to the Great War or WWI is signed in the Gallery of Mirrors, Until 1953, the Council elects the President from here, And today, the Parliament meets here in congress while changes or adjustment needs to be done to the Constitution.

You come into the palace on avenue de Paris by the royal grille gate just in front the royal stables built between 1679 and 1680,when Louis XIV decided to moved to Versailles permanently, In front of the palace you have the Place d’Armes and then the royal grille of honor golden with the arms of France built from the time of Louis XVIII after the originals were destroyed during the French revolution, Follow up inside with the cour d’honneur or cour des Ministres, left and right bordering the cour des Ministres to the left the old wing or aile vieille opens to the aile du Midi or central wing, to the right the Gabriel building opens into the aile Nord or north wing and the imposing back chevet of the Royal Chapel, the highest point in all the palace The palace of Versailles is extended on 680 meters the roof is flat crown by a balustrade with vases and trophies, as the old palace of Louis XIII is surrounded by a ring of stones done by Le Vau in 1668,On the first floor (2nd US) you see the Galerie des Glaces or gallery of mirrors, to the left the aile du Nord or north wing housing the Opéra Royale and the Royal Chapel, To the right the aile de Midi or central wing and its hemicircle.

You go first to the Grand Appartement du Roi or the king’s apartments and see the Salon de Mars with a portrait of Louis XV by Carle Van Loo,The Salon d’Hercule with a painting of Veronese Les Repas chez Simon or the meals at Simon, offered by the Venise Republic, The walls are decorated by François Lemoyne the Apotheosis of Hercule, This was the biggest room and serve for danses and bals, The Salon de l’Abondance was the room for refreshments, The Salon de Diane with a bust of Benin showing Louis XIV, In the Salon de Mars you can see a portrait of the women of Louis XV and on top chimney of the Salon d’Apollon a portrait of Louis XIV by Rigaud, done in 1702.

Going by the stair of ambassdors you reach the salon de Venus done between 1677 and 1680 that when the times of Louis XIV wa the entrance to the grand apartments, the most baroque part done by Le Brun, On the ceiling see the goddes of Love, Venus,The Salon de Mars was to be guards’ room for parades ,here see the wonderful potrait of Louis XIV La tente de Darius done before the very eyes of Louis XIV in the Château de Fontainebleau by Charles Le Brun, he has Louis XIV dress as Alexander the Great, The salon Mercure was for a while the bedroom of the king was later the games room you see a wonderful clock with automata done by Antoine Mora offered to the king in 1706. The Salon d’Apollon next to the Salon de la Guerre was turned into the salon du Trône after the construction of the galerie des glaces,. At the end see the Le Char d’Apollon by Charles de La Fosse (the Chariot of Apollo), The trone is 2,60 meters high originally in silver where the ambassadors were received.

The galerie des Glaces or gallery of mirrors of 73 meters long 10 meters wide 12,3 high, In 1678 the grand galerie or big gallery as it was called,The light comes from 17 big windows reflected on 17 glass panels on the opposite wall, It sits between the salon de la Paix to the left and the salon de la Guerre on the right, On the huge dome is shown the fondamental of government, Justice, Finance, Commerce, and Arts, The gallery has 357 mirrors of mercury only about 48 have been replaced and no longer of mercury,By the end near the Salon de la Paix see the lion of Spain, Here in the galerie des Glaces were married Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI in 1770, A few like me could see the attic of the galerie des Glaces where there is the vaulted of Le Brun and see some remains of the terrace of Italian style and the gardens of Le Vau of 1668.

The center of the palace of Versailles is the kings’ Apartments, And the bedroom of the King in the oldest part of the palace that gives to the cour de Marbre, it was in 1701 that Louis XIV comes here with especially the public part where the few guest were invited and the private space for him,From 1737 the king does not use than for sleep, One of the few rooms in the palace that was not change, It was from the balcon that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette spoked to the people of Paris , The symbolic place tells us of where the absolute monarchy was born and where it died.

The Cabinet du Conseil next to the kings’ bedroom glass walls and windows giving to the cour de Marbre was the center of power and whre meeting were held with his ministers, and major decisions of the kingdom of France such as the approval of helping the American independance, A typical day for him was get up by 8h30 open the curtains by the valet, see the doctor, and nutritionist, the day starts, In the presence of family and favorites the king rises up and give audiences in his bedroom or the cabinet then goes to the chapel by 10h, By 11h another council in his cabinet with his miniters, By 13h lunch in his bedroom , early in the afternoon goes hunting and a walk in the park on foot or carriage if with women, 18h attend the evening in the apartments in winter or work in the apartment of Madame de Maintenon, 22h the folks gather in the antichamber for the dinner ; on the table the king is surrounded by princesses and princes of the royal family that will follow up with some private moments, By 22h30 it is the bedtime follow by small eats, caress the dogs to his bed and sleep

The Grand apartments of the Queen symetrical to that of the king, Here 19 children of France like the future Louis XV and Felipe V of Spain (the Bourbons of Spain today) saw the light , From 1680 to 1789 many dauphines and three queens gave birth here and two died Marie Therese of Austria in 1683 and Marie Leszczynska in 1768, The rooms were totally renovated between 1730 and 1735 by Robert de Cotte and Gabriel for the women of Louis XV, Marie Antoinette change the furniture ,she passed most of her time and welcome visitors and later leave to join the Petit Trianon, The room is as it was in 1789.

The interior cabinets of the king in the first floor (2nd US) along the cour de Marbre Louis XIV put up his collection of arts even here the Jaconte (mona lisa) of Leonardo De Vinci was exposed, However, from 1737 looking for privacy the rooms are made private apartments, You see the Cabinet de la pendule or clock cabinet because there was an astronomical clock installed here in 1754, Each December 31 the royal family sat around it waiting for midnight and the new display, The back cabinet was left to diplomacy and secret affairs, the cabinet de la Cassette a bit further Louis XVI goes to registered his private accounts, before this room were the bathroom by 1771 by Gabriel, Later comes the Library of Louis XVI, where he follow his passion the sea routes like those of Lapérousé that he sponsored ; the salon des Porcelaines created in 1769 with society dinners and later passed on to the salon des Jeux or games room

We arrive at the Chapelle Royale or Royal Chapel recently renovated like new ! You see the illustration of the Trinity 25 meters high, and to the left the Resurrection of Christ by de La Fosse and to the right above the royal tribune , the Holy Spirit at Pentecost by Jouvenet, From the north wing you see the chevet of the Royal Chapel and its roof the highest point in all the Domaine de Versailles. This is actually the fifth chapel built here ! The interior is done in the palatine of classical styles, Imagine the king coming here every day by 10h escorted by his small group of cortisans to assist of the Mass, The music with one of the best formations in Europe, Today is the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles that gives concerts all year around here. Anecdote, the oratory of Madame de Pompadour, the favorite of king Louis XV came to pray here in private on the side of the royal chapel it even had heating.

The Opéra Royal or Royal Opera was done on May 17 1770 opened with the marriage of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, The room was in gold and blue with nice proportions The decline of the land allows to installed a huge basement behind the scenes that could put a huge machine for the times, The room was modular with easy changes between operas, bals, and parties, It had simple balcons that allow to host more than 1K spectators or the biggest theater of the courts, even if the cost was huge, spending three thousand oil lamps and two thousand candles for an evening, The king’s box was to see without being seen, thanks to the grids installed in front of his box the king could attend the shows in all discretion,

You have also, the musée Louis Philippe on the Galerie des Batailles or wars gallery, 120 meters long exalting the victories of France from the battle of Tolbiac to the battle of Wagram, You see several other rooms here such as the Salle du Sacre of Napoléon 1er at the extremity of the grand apartments of the queen, The salles des Croisades or crusade’s room in honor of the nobility at street level by the north wing neo gothic style, The legimistes of the royal families who participated in the crusades ; over 150 portraits and sculptures retracing the 8 crusades from the 11C to the 16C, In the third room do not miss the sculpture cedar door that came from the hospices of the Knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem in Rhodes. Also, the salles du 17C or rooms, street level or first floor of the north wing showing the great political artistic or literally events of the reigns of Henri III to Louis XIV. You can see how Versailles grew in importance in portraits.

The official Château de Versailles:

The Versailles tourist office on the palace:

The city of Versailles on the palace:

There you go folks, the grandeur of France before your eyes, yes crowded, yes busy, but you are still coming and for a good reason. There is no other castle/palace/museum that can equal it for architecture, history and just a beautiful property. My Versailles, my Palace of Versailles. Hope you enjoy the post and help in your next visit when possible.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: