The Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun of Versailles !!!

Let me bring you back to my beloved and former home of Versailles. One can never be too far from it and that includes me. We simply love it, mind you not just the castle museum but the town in its whole! I like to update this older post for you and me ! Two buildings quite related to each other yet apart ; the Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun.  One is very popular as you need to go thru it to get into the Castle/Museum and now there even has a nice restaurant there. The second is much less known but equally important in the history of Versailles and France, at least…

The Dufour Pavilion is a 17C building constituting the main body of the Château de Versailles, present on the Court of Honor (cour d’honneur). Located between the Royal courtyard (cour Royale) and the courtyard of the Princes ( cour des Princes), overlooking the courtyard, the Dufour Pavilion is located to the left of the grid of honor (golden wrough iron grille gate) for a person arriving at the Castle. It is really an imposing building once you look at it from outside coming in.


A bit of history I like

Emperor Napoleon Ier planned to build a white stone façade on the town side. He ordered a study by Alexandre Dufour. The latter will be entrusted by king Louis XVIII with the task of constructing this pavilion following the projects sketched by the Emperor. The Pavilion was built between 1818-1820 in place of a wing dating from the extension of 1668. The architecture incorporates that of the Gabriel wing, built under king Louis XV by Ange-Jacques Gabriel. The Dufour Pavilion, however, will never be finished on its rear part, although this has been sketched; the 17C a wing is preserved as a result of its restoration in 1814 and is still present today.  The Dufour Pavilion houses up to 2010 offices, including those of the management, communication and museum graphic conservation. The services still present are moved to the Grand Commun (see below) . They lead to the creation of reception space on the ground floor and in the basement, the restaurant “Ore” of Alain Ducasse of 600 m2 on the first floor (2fl US) ; and a conference room of 220 places under the attic of the 17C wing. A really classic work, done so I could see before departing Versailles.

Versailles chateau pl d armes dic11

This is Monsieur Ducasse resto ORE

The Château de Versailles on the Dufour pavilion

The Grand Commun, or as its official name the Grand Quarré des Offices-Commun , is a building located at 1, rue de l’independence-American and corner of Rue des Recollets. I figure could put it here as it refers to the services once in the Dufour Pavilion as told above. This building took many years of renovations and now is splendid, do stop by.

A bit of history I like

Built between 1682 and 1684 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart on the site of the Church of Saint-Julien, the building housed the kitchens and the tables of the officers who served the courtyard of the Château de Versailles, as well as rooms for the courtesans. The building is organized around an inner courtyard.  By conducting excavations in the courtyard of the Grand Commun in 2009, a team from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) exhumed the remains of the Jeu de Paume game or palm/tennis game of king Louis XIII, built in 1630 as well as vestiges of the enclosure of its castle, and, under further again, a cemetery of the high middle ages, probably in connection with the church. The palm/tennis game or Jeu de Paume room comes in the form of a large rectangular building of 33 meters long by 14 meters wide with lateral walls of 1.30 meters thick. The presence of three galleries indicates that it is an indoor game. The floor is covered with stone-sized tiles and probably preceded by a terracotta tile floor. The house of the paumier (the one who maintains, manages and animates the playroom) was also found.


Manufacture of arms under the French revolution, the Grand Commun sheltered from 1843 a military hospital then became military hospital Dominique Larrey. Since 2015, various services of the Château de Versailles (DRH, conservation, staff changing rooms, research center of the Château de Versailles) are installed there as of today. Of course this is not visited now,and photos not allowed inside,  but I had the opportunity to see the jeu de paume section while excavations were going on as I am a Friends of the Château de Versailles since 2004 !


The Château de Versailles Research Center

The Château de Versailles on the Grand Commun

There you go folks, two wonderful buildings one in and one out of glorius royal Versailles, unique in my belle France. The Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun, history and architecture all for the better and the enjoyment of all. Hope you come to enjoy as much as we do, my beloved Versailles , a lot more than a castle.

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

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