I’m just gonna say that after visiting Château de Versailles (Palace of Versailles), every castle/palace I saw in Europe thereafter paled in comparison. The place was grand, opulent, extravagant, golden, ornate – insert any similar adjective here. See for yourself!
So this was the home of Louis XIV in the 1600’s. Apparently he hated the Louvre Palace, and so he built himself a palace in Versailles then moved there with his entire court.
Louis was called the “Sun King” because he wanted everyone to know that he was the center of things. This motif was repeated throughout the entire place – even his bedroom was right in the middle of the palace.
You might think that living in a palace this grand would be the best thing ever. However, the building was made of stone, had no heating, plumbing, etc. The winters were so cold that some ladies of court would light small fires under their skirts to warm up while attending mass. Unfortunately, that solution didn’t work so well when they got lit up!
I walked through so many rooms that by now, forgot what each one was. But I’m kind of proud of myself for matching 99% of the pictures with its correct room! Thanks official website.
The King’s Apartments
The first salon of the King’s Grand Apartment, the Hercules salon was actually the last to be created, at the end of Louis XIV’s reign. From 1682 onwards, the chapel of the palace occupied its location and served until 1710, when it was replaced by the present chapel.
On evening soirees, the Abundance Salon was the place of refreshments, where a buffet served coffee (very expensive and prized back then), wine and liqueurs. It was also the antechamber of the Cabinet of Curiosities or the Rarities of Louis XIV – the king liked to show his guests silverware vases, gems and medals.
On evening soirees, tables were set up covered with baskets of flowers, pyramids of fresh, rare fruit such as oranges and lemons as well as crystallised fruit and marzipan.
There were statues of Louis everywhere. I mean, when you’re the king…
The Diana Salon served as a vestibule to the Grand Apartment and in Louis XIV’s day, on evening soirees, as a billiard room. Diana = the goddess of hunting, also alluded to the fact that Louis XIV was a great hunter.
Mars is a planet but also the God of War. This room was originally meant to serve as the guard-room for the parade apartment. It was later reserved, at evening soirees, for music and dancing, so that it was commonly known as the “ballroom”.
Dedicated to the Sun God, god of the Arts and Peace, with whom Louis XIV identified, was the most luxurious of all.
The King’s Chamber:
The King’s Bedroom
It was in this chamber that Louis XIV lunched en petit couvert (in relative privacy) and the ceremonies of the King’s rising and retiring took place every day. It was likewise in this chamber that Louis XIV died on September 1, 1715 after reigning for 72 years.
The Council Study
This did not take on its present form until 1755, under Louis XV, when it was created by combining two rooms, the King’s Study where Louis XIV held his ministerial councils for financial and state matters and the Terms Study, a more intimate room to which Louis XIV retired with his family or inner circle in the evenings after supper.
The Queen’s Grand Apartments:
The Queen’s Chamber
The chamber is the main room of the apartment, the one where the Queen spent most of her time.
The antechamber of the Grand Couvert
It was in the Queen’s antechamber that the public meals were held, whose sumptuous ritual attracted a large crowd.
And finally, what we’ve all been looking forward to:
The Hall of Mirrors:
The decoration, completed by Le Brun in 1686, glorifies the military victories that led to the Peace of Nijmegen.
The Hall of Mirrors
The Grand Gallery (La Grande Galerie) was used daily by courtiers and visitors for passing through, waiting and for meeting people. It was only used for ceremonies on exceptional occasions, when sovereigns wanted to lend splendour to diplomatic receptions, or distractions (balls or games) on the occasion of princely weddings.
Despite the number of pictures I took, it’s nothing compared to the many more I would have taken if I saw all of the rooms in the palace! I feel like I barely made a dent after seeing just how many more there’s left to see on the website. Furthermore, a lot of the display is a mere copy of the original because the palace was plundered during the French Revolution. I can only imagine what it must have been like, fully furnished and gilded in real gold, during the hey-day of Louis’s reign.
Which room in Versailles is your favorite? Mine was obviously the Hall of Mirrors!
Thanks for reading!