Grands Appartements du Roi et de la Reine, Versailles

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  • The room of the king
    The room of the king
    by Nemorino
  • The bedroom of the Queen
    The bedroom of the Queen
    by Nemorino
  • Taking photos
    Taking photos
    by Nemorino
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    The Queen’s bedroom

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 21, 2014

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    The bedroom of the Queen

    By the time I reached the Queen’s bedroom I was distinctly ODed on seventeenth century magnificence, so I decided to call it quits for the day, stop taking photos and come back some other year for the rest of the palace.

    Actually “ODed” is not the proper term to use in such aristocratic surroundings. I suppose I should have said I was surfeited – that sounds much more courtly and refined.


    The sad thing about visiting Versailles is when you stop to realize that mankind has not made much (if any) progress since the bad old days of Louis XIV. Then as now, a tiny caste of rich people controlled most of the earth’s resources and used them for their own – quite frivolous – purposes.

    Vauban, who knew France better than anyone at Versailles because he spent forty years on the road inspecting and building fortifications, repeatedly tried to make clear to Louis XIV what life was like for the vast majority of the people in his kingdom. The king’s typical response was that he approved of the fortifications.

    Next: Charles X

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    The King’s Room

    by Nemorino Written Mar 9, 2014

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    The room of the king
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    Although this room is clearly labeled as The King’s Room and is furnished with a fancy royal bed, this is not where he actually slept, according to the audio guide.

    The room is described as the king’s “ceremonial bedchamber” and is also known as the Mercury Salon. It was recently closed for over a year for restoration work, and was re-opened on October 25, 2012.

    Originally this room was furnished with “tables, mirrors, andirons and chandeliers in solid silver, magnificently carved by the Gobelins silversmiths”, according to the palace website. But in 1698 Louis XIV had to have all these magnificent furnishings melted down to finance a war, namely the War of the League of Augsburg, also known as the War of the Grand Alliance or the War of the Palatine Succession.

    I have mentioned this war on my Heidelberg page, because it was the last time there was any widespread destruction in Heidelberg. This is why many of the major buildings in Heidelberg date from the beginning of the 18th century, just after this war was over.

    Website: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/news-/events/vie-scientifique/la-restauration-du-salon-de-mercure-en-en


    Next: The Hall of Mirrors

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    The King’s bedroom

    by Nemorino Written Mar 9, 2014

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    The bedroom of the king
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    This is where Louis XIV actually slept, and where he died on September 1, 1715 after reigning as king for 72 years.

    Since he had outlived all his sons and grandsons, his successor was his five-year-old great-grandson, who reigned as Louis XV for over 58 years.

    Louis XV has not gone down in history as one of the more capable kings of France. The American historian Jerome Blum is often quoted as saying that Louis XV was "a perpetual adolescent called to do a man's job."

    Website: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover-the-estate/the-palace/le-chateau/la-chambre-du-roi-en


    Next: The Peace Room

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    Salon d'Hercule - Hercules Drawing-Room

    by breughel Updated Sep 13, 2013

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    Versailles Ch��teau - Hercules Drawing-Room

    The visit of the “Grands Apartments” begins with this splendid and large "Hercules drawing room" at the junction of the central body and the northern wing of the castle.
    This room built between 1712 and 1736 by Robert de Cotte occupies the site of a former chapel. It is remarkable by the decoration of the walls with marble of various colours, the many pilasters with the Corinthian style capitals of gilded bronze and especially by its marble chimney decorated with splendid bronzes of Antoine Vassé evoking Hercules. On top of the chimney hangs a painting of Veronese “Rebecca and Eliézer”.
    On the wall opposite the chimney hangs another large Veronese “the Meal at Simon the Pharisee” offered to Louis XIV by the Republic of Venice in 1664.

    Still more remarkable is the ceiling painted by François Moyne representing the Apotheosis of Hercules. This immense painting painted with oil on strengthened canvas was extremely admired in its time but the painter exhausted by his work committed suicide whereas he had received the title of “First Painter of the King”.

    It is in this room that took place the ball given by Louis XV for the marriage of his eldest daughter Elisabeth with the Infant of Spain in 1739. The festivities, there were many in this room, were lit by candles what fouled up the vault and the painting of Le Moyne whose restoration of the 480 m2 at a height of 15 m was finished in 2001.

    The Hercules Drawing-Room is one of the most remarkable parts of the Royal apartments and deserves a somewhat lengthier visit. The light is very beautiful as the "Salon d'Hercule" is exposed to the east and the west.

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    La visite des "Grands Appartements Royaux" débute par ce magnifique et vaste "Salon d'Hercule" à la jonction du corps central et de l'aile nord du château.
    Ce salon construit entre 1712 et 1736 par Robert de Cotte occupe l’emplacement d’une chapelle provisoire. Il est remarquable par la décoration des murs en marbre de différentes couleurs, les nombreux pilastres aux chapiteaux de style corinthien en bronze doré et surtout par sa cheminée en marbre ornée de magnifiques bronzes d'Antoine Vassé évoquant Hercule. Au dessus de cette cheminée pend un tableau de Véronèse "Rebecca et Eliézer".
    Face à la cheminée se trouve un autre Véronèse de grandes dimensions " Le repas chez Simon le Pharisien" offert à Louis XIV par la République de Venise en 1664.

    Encore plus remarquable est le plafond peint par François Le Moyne représentant
    l'Apothéose d’Hercule. Cet immense tableau peint à l'huile sur toile marouflée fut fort admiré en son temps mais le peintre épuisé par son travail se suicida alors qu'il avait pourtant reçu le titre de "Premier Peintre du Roi".
    C'est dans ce salon qu'eut lieu le bal donné par Louis XV à l’occasion du mariage de sa fille aînée Elisabeth avec l’infant d’Espagne en 1739.
    Les fêtes, nombreuses dans ce salon, étaient éclairées par des bougies ce qui encrassa fortement la voûte et le tableau de Le Moyne dont la restauration des 480 m2 à une hauteur de 15 m a été terminée en 2001.

    Le salon d'Hercule est une des pièces les plus remarquables des Grands appartements et mérite qu'on s'y attarde. La lumière y est très belle, ce salon étant exposé à l'est et à l'ouest..

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    Salons de Vénus et de Diane.

    by breughel Updated Aug 13, 2011

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    Salon de Diane - Bust of Louis XIV by Le Bernin.

    When visiting the drawing-rooms of Venus, Abundance, Diane and Mars one can imagine going back a few centuries and attend one of the evening receptions which Louis XIV offered to the Court in his Grand Apartments three times per week.
    The festivities began with music, dances, parts of billiards in the Diane room (the king played billiards very well) and cards. A light dinner was served in the Venus room on silver tables weighing more than 300 kg. These tables were covered with dishes, vases, candlesticks in silver like all the furniture. The rooms were lit by thousands of candles.
    The Mars room was the ballroom.
    The Venus drawing-room owes its name to the mythological painting of the ceiling by Houasse. The room is decorated with "trompe l'oeil" paintings which give the effect to be sculptures and of a statue of Louis XIV. In the Diane drawing-room is a remarkable bust of the king by the Italian sculptor Le Bernin.

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    En visitant les salons de Venus, de l'Abondance, de Diane et de Mars on peut s'imaginer retourner quelques siècles en arrière et assister à l'une des soirées que Louis XIV offrait à la Cour dans son Grand Appartement trois fois par semaine. Les festivités débutaient par de la musique, des danses, des parties de billard dans le salon de Diane (le roi jouait très bien au billard) des jeux de cartes. Un dîner léger était servi dans le salon de Venus sur des tables en argent pesant plus de 300 kg. Ces tables étaient couvertes de plats, vases, chandeliers en argent comme tout le mobilier. Les salons étaient éclairés par des milliers de bougies. Le salon de Mars était la salle de bal.

    Le salon de Venus doit son nom à la peinture du plafond, par Houasse, représentant Vénus assujettissant à son empire les divinités et les puissances.
    Le salon de Vénus est orné de peintures en "trompe l'oeil" qui donnent l'effet d'être des sculptures et d'une statue de Louis XIV.
    Le salon de Diane renferme le buste de Louis XIV par le sculpteur Le Bernin.

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    "Thrones in Majesty" Exhibition.

    by breughel Updated Mar 12, 2011

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    Le Roi Dagobert.

    "Thrones in Majesty" Exhibition from 1 March to 19 June 2011.

    Approximately 40 emblematic thrones from different periods and civilisations are on display in the Grand Apartments of the palace of Versailles.
    Is shows the universality of the seated representation of religious or political authority.
    The oldest one is the throne of King Dabobert.
    Francophone childs, of my generation, know the famous song:
    "Le bon roi Dagobert
    A mis sa culotte a l'envers;
    Le grand saint Éloi
    Lui dit: Ô mon roi !
    Votre majesté
    Est mal culottée.
    C'est vrai, lui dit le roi
    Je vais la remettre à l'endroit."

    Exhibition included in admission to the Grand Apartments.

    This is a much more appropriate exhibition for Versailles than the previous Contemporary Art exhibition from Takashi Murakami (14/09 till 12/12/2010). The French quality newspaper "Le Monde" wrote: Mr. Murakami is a "avatar japonais du pop art américain". Harsh but exact.

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    Cabinet du Conseil - The king governs.

    by breughel Updated Feb 4, 2011

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    Ch��teau de Versailles - Cabinet du Conseil.

    After visiting the grandiose Gallery of the Mirrors one might have gained the impression that the king passed the essence of his time in receptions and festivities.
    The image is incomplete. Beside the "Sun King" Roi Soleil who reigns, there was Louis XIV who governed France and governed the country by himself.
    It was in 1661 when the Prime Minister Cardinal Mazarin died that the young king, he is 23 years old, decided to hold each day the “Council” with his ministers in a cabinet located on the first floor beside his room. I tried to imagine Louis XIV in meeting with Colbert and Louvois. The king had excluded the noble lords from his council to be surrounded by qualified ministers who owed him all.

    The large room of the council that the visitors can see today results from linking the old cabinet of the King (or the Council) with the cabinet of the Thermes by Louis XV in 1755.
    It is in this "Cabinet du Conseil" that in 1778 the participation in the war of independence of the United States was decided by King Louis XVI.

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    Le Roi gouverne.

    Lorsqu'on vient de visiter ce lieu grandiose qu'est la Galerie des Glaces et les salons qui l'entourent on a l'impression que le roi passait l'essentiel de son temps en réceptions et festivités.
    L'image est incomplète. A côté du Roi Soleil qui règne il y avait Louis XIV qui gouvernait la France et la gouvernait par lui-même.
    C'est en 1661, à la mort du premier ministre le Cardinal Mazarin, que le jeune roi, il a 23 ans, décida de tenir chaque jour le "Conseil" avec ses ministres dans un cabinet situé au premier étage à côté de sa chambre. J'ai essayé de m'imaginer Louis XIV en réunion avec Colbert et Louvois. Le roi avait exclu les grands seigneurs de son conseil pour s'entourer de ministres compétents qui lui devaient tout.

    Le grand salon du conseil que les visiteurs peuvent voir aujourd'hui résulte de la réunion en 1755 sous Louis XV de l’ancien cabinet du Roi (ou du Conseil) avec le cabinet des Thermes.
    C'est ici que fut décidé en 1778 la participation à la guère d'indépendance des Etats-Unis.

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    Contemporary art exhibition.

    by breughel Updated Sep 15, 2010

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    Tourists planning to visit Versailles in the next months should know that from 14/09 till 12/12/2010 there is inside the castle a special exhibition of 22 works from Takashi Murakami.

    From what I read in the French quality newspaper "Le Monde" Mr. Murakami is a "avatar japonais du pop art américain" and that "Hors des écrins adaptés des galeries ou des musées d'art contemporain, le travail du japonais apparaît enfin dans toute sa lumière : grotesque".

    From what I saw in the French media it seems that there is indeed, to say it in a diplomatic way, some opposition between the classical Louis XIV décor of the Grands Appartements, Galerie des Glaces, the gardens and the work of Takashi Murakami.
    Consequently if you are not a fan of mixing classical art and pop art and if you want to see the Royal apartments without foreign objects disturbing the perspective it's better to wait with your visit.

    For the full comment see: Le Monde 15/09/10 Critique - Un Versailles pour petites filles en fleurs.

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    Salon de la Guerre.

    by breughel Updated Mar 30, 2009

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    Versailles Ch��teau - Salon de la Guerre.

    The War Drawing-Room links the King Apartments with the famous Hall of Mirrors.
    The victories of Louis XIV are represented in this room. Above the mantelpiece is a famous sculpture representing the king as a Roman Emperor crowned by the Victory. It is a very beautiful relief in stucco made by Coysevox in 1682.
    The walls are sheathed with precious marbles, adorned with mirrors and gilded bronze trophies. The paintings of the ceiling by Charles Le Brun represent the campaigns of Louis XIV. Visitors don't stay long in this room because by an opening they can already see the Hall of Mirrors.

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    Ce salon fait communiquer les Grands Appartements du Roi avec la célèbre Galerie des Glaces. Ici sont représentés les victoires de Louis XIV avec au dessus de la cheminée la sculpture représentant le roi en empereur romain couronné par la Victoire. C'est un très beau relief en stuc de Coysevox réalisé en 1682.
    Les murs sont revêtus de marbres précieux, de miroirs et de trophées en bronze doré. Les peintures du plafond représentent les campagnes de Louis XIV par Charles Le Brun. Le visiteur s'attarde peu dans ce salon car par la baie il aperçoit déjà la galerie des Glaces.

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    Salon De l'Abondance.

    by breughel Updated Mar 30, 2009

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    Versailles - Salon de l'Abondance.

    This rather small room is known as "Abundance room" because the painting of the ceiling represents “Abundance and the Liberality” of the painter Rene-Antoine Houasse (1683). The room opened on the Cabinet of Curiosities which contained the royal collections.
    I liked the walls covered with an emerald green and gold velvet (restored in 1955) what contrasts with other decorations of the Royal Apartments. As we can see it today the décor of the "Salon de l'Abondance" goes back to King Louis Philippe.

    When Louis XIV gave parties for the Court in his Apartments, three times per week from 18 to 10 p.m., it was in this Abundance room that were the dressers for fine liquors, wines, tea, coffee and hot chocolate.
    In that period all the rooms of the "Grands Appartements" were decorated with silver furniture. There remains nothing of it. In December 1689 the King had all the silver furniture of the Apartments melted down to finance his wars. That represented 20 tons of silver. All these beautiful artefacts in silver had cost 10 million pounds of that time; Louis XIV obtained only 2 million pounds. An enormous destruction of art!

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    Ce petit salon est dit de l'Abondance parce que la peinture du plafond représente "l'Abondance et la Libéralité" du peintre René-Antoine Houasse vers 1683. Ce salon de l'Abondance ouvrait sur le Cabinet des Curiosités qui renfermait les collections royales.
    Il a retenu mon attention parce qu'il est tapissé en velours vert émeraude et or (restauration de 1955) et contraste ainsi avec d'autres décors des Grands Appartements. Tel qu'on le voit aujourd'hui les aménagements sont de Louis Philippe.

    Lorsque Louis XIV donnait des soirées pour la Cour dans son Grand Appartement, trois fois par semaine de 18 à 22 heures, c'est ici que se trouvaient les buffets pour les liqueurs, vins fins, thé, café et chocolat.
    A l'époque tous ces salons étaient décorés avec du mobilier en argent. Il n'en reste rien. En décembre 1689 le Roi fit fondre tout le mobilier d'argent des Grands Appartements pour financer ses guerres. Cela représentait 20 tonnes d'argent. Tous ces objets d'art en argent avaient coûté 10 millions de livres de l'époque, Louis XIV n'en obtint que 2 millions de livres. Une énorme destruction d'art!

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    Grand Apartments of the Queen

    by Dabs Updated Dec 11, 2008

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    After gawking at the grandeur of the Hall of Mirrors, you'll come across the Grand Apartments of the Queen (Grand Appartement de la Reine). Unlike the King's apartments, the Queens actually lived in these apartments, Maria Theresa, wife of Louis XIV, Maria Leszczinska, wife of Louis XV and Marie-Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI. This suite of rooms had the Queen's Guards Room, Antechamber, Peers' Salon, and Queen's Bedchamber.

    The Queen's Bedchamber remains as it was when Marie Antoinette left Versailles in October 1789 during the French Revolution, she replaced all of the furnishings that Louis XV had put in for his wife. There's a hidden door in this room that allowed her to escape the the King's apartment on the night the Parisians stormed the Palace in October 1789 although she and Louis XVI left voluntarily the next day.

    The Queen's guardroom was left unchanged by Marie Antoinette. The Antechamber was where the king, queen, and members of the royal family dined in public, it's other use was as a theater. The Peers' salon was used as an antechamber to the Queen’s bedroom.

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    Grand Apartments of the King

    by Dabs Updated Dec 9, 2008

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    Salon de Hercules
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    The 1st part of the visit to the Palace, after getting a look at the Royal Chapel, was through the Grand Apartments of the King or Grand Appartement du Roi. The plan called for seven rooms, each named for the then known planets and the associated Roman God because the Sun was the emblem of Louis XIV, including the Salon de Diane (Moon), Salon de Mars, Salon de Mercure (Mercury), Salon de Jupiter, Salon de Saturne (Saturn) and Salon de Venus, all centered around the Salon d’Apollo (Sun). In 1710, another salon was added, dedicated to Hercules. The salon de la guerre (War Room) and the salon de la paix (Peace Room) along with the Hall of Mirrors connect the Grand Apartment of the King with the Grand Apartment of the Queen.

    Louis XIV found the apartments too cold and opted to live in the rooms previously occupied by his father, the grand apartments were used for court functions instead.

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