The Palace of Versailles, Versailles

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    cour de marbres inside domaine
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    the gorgeous theater and chapel
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    the pl d armes
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    The Royal Chapel

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 14, 2014

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    One way to deal with the enormity of the Versailles Palace is to think of it as a gigantic psychogram of Louis XIV.

    On the one hand, he was a Renaissance man with a keen interest in Greek and Roman mythology, as is clear from the art works on display throughout the palace. At the same time, he was a devout Catholic who went to mass in his private chapel every morning at ten o’clock precisely, taking only two or three hundred of his most privileged courtiers with him.

    Presumably he didn’t really believe in the ancient Roman gods, but just thought of them as literature, i.e. fiction. He did not pray to Jupiter, Venus or Diana and was not afraid that they would come down and tweak his nose if he did something wrong.

    He did believe, however, in the Christian God and the Catholic saints. He was a Very Catholic Monarch – which seems a bit strange considering that his grandfather Henri IV had been a Protestant who only converted to Catholicism pro forma so he could claim the throne.

    Henri IV, however, had little influence over the education of his children, much less his unborn grandchildren. Even in Henri’s lifetime, his son Louis XIII received a strict Catholic upbringing – his mother Marie de’ Medici saw to that – and the next generation got more of the same.

    One indication of Louis XIV’s religiosity was the fact that in his later years he began to worry about whether his soul perhaps might burn in hell for all eternity – not because he had squandered the people’s money on his palace, but because he had cavorted with so many mistresses.

    To ensure the salvation of his soul he felt he should do some decisive Good Deed for the Church, and this led to what was probably the worst decision of his entire 72-year reign, his Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685. This edict revoked his grandfather’s tolerant Edict of Nantes from 87 years before and effectively outlawed Protestantism or any other non-Catholic religion.

    Someone in his entourage came up with a catchy slogan:

    Un roi, une loi, une foi.
    This means ‘One King, One Law, One Faith’ – they all rhyme in French – and Louis XIV felt that the time had come to enforce this.

    One of the few who advised against this intolerant edict was Vauban, who feared it would lead to a civil war (which it didn’t) and to a mass exodus of some of the most skilled and productive people in France (which it did). In my Friedrichsdorf page, "A new home for the Huguenots", I have shown a place where some of these exiled French Protestants settled and helped to revive the economy of their new home.

    In his earlier years Louis XIV had said to Vauban more than once: “I’ll follow your advice next time.” And he often did, in those years, but he became more advice-resistant as he got older. For more on this, see the tip/review Vauban memorial in the Dôme des Invalides on my Paris page.

    On my Lille page I have written a tip/review called Vauban’s Citadel, which also includes links to my other Vauban tips.

    Second photo: Looking up at the ceiling of the Royal Chapel.

    Third, fourth and fifth photos: After climbing one flight of stairs you come to a place where you might also expect to have a good view of the Royal Chapel, if only there weren’t so many of your fellow tourists trying to do the same. Note that I took these photos at the lowest point of the low season in February. In the summer you can expect twice or three times as many people. But don’t let that bother you, OK? After all, you are a tourist, too, and you are getting in the way of their photos as much as they are getting in the way of yours.

    Address: Château de Versailles – Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles
    Directions: Location and photo on monumentum.fr
    Website: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/the-palace-
    Books: Daniel Halévy, Vauban, Editions de Fallois, Paris, 2007 (first published in 1923)
    Alain Monod, Vauban ou la mauvaise conscience du roi, Riveneuve éditions, Paris, 2008



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    The Peace Room

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 21, 2014

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    After going through some of the more bellicose parts of the palace, I was pleased to find that there is also a Peace Room (Salon de la Paix) which is every bit as beautiful as the War Room and the Mars Room.

    During the reign of Louis XIV there were in fact several periods of peace, one of which lasted over ten years, between the war against Holland and the war of the league of Augsburg.

    Nonetheless, the sad fact of the matter is that Louis XIV was not a big fan of peace. Wars were his second favorite hobby, second only to his palace in Versailles. Vauban, his Commissioner General of Fortifications, repeatedly tried to dissuade him from fighting wars in distant places that he would be unable to hold or defend. To Vauban, fortifications existed to defend the ‘limits’ of the kingdom, not only to ward off attackers but to discourage them from attacking in the first place. To Louis XIV, wars were the way to augment his personal ‘glory’, so he didn’t really care why or where they were fought, or what had to be given up in the ensuing peace treaty. No wonder he and Vauban talked past each other for most of their lives.

    Website: http://thisisversaillesmadame.blogspot.de/2013/04/peace-salon.html
    Book: Alain Monod, Vauban ou la mauvaise conscience du roi, Riveneuve éditions, Paris, 2008


    Next: The Queen’s bedroom

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    Statue of Nicolas de Catinat

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 21, 2014

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    Catinat statue
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    The Versailles Palace has hundreds of white marble statues, all roughly the same height, spread out all along the halls and in some of the rooms. I picked this one to photograph because I recognized the name.

    Not that I ever knew much about Nicolas de Catinat, but I did know that one of the main streets of Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, used to be called Rue Catinat back in the days when Indochina was a French colony. It was named after a French warship that took part in the French conquest of Vietnam from 1856 to 1859.

    The warship, in turn, was named after this man, Nicholas Catinat (1637–1712), who was a French military commander and Marshal of France under King Louis XIV. (I have mentioned this in a tip/review called Têt in Saigon.)

    The statue was made by someone called Cl. Dejoux in 1781, nearly seventy years after Catinat’s death. Whether it is an accurate depiction I don’t know. I find it hard to believe that generals still wore medieval armor in the seventeenth century, but perhaps some military historian can correct me if I am wrong about this.

    Catinat, like Vauban, was a nearly exact contemporary of Louis XIV, who as a young king liked to have men of his own age in leadership positions. Another thing that Catinat and Vauban had in common was that they both lacked any sort of prestigious aristocratic background and rose through the ranks entirely on merit, which in seventeenth century Europe was highly unusual. Both of them took an unusual interest in the welfare of the men under their command, and often wrote memos recommending able men for promotion. Both received the title of ‘Marshal of France’ towards the end of their careers.

    Vauban and Catinat were friends, by the way, as I have learned from the book Vauban by Daniel Halévy. Among other things, they conducted the siege of Ath together in 1697, with Vauban leading the engineers and Catinat in command of the soldiers. (Ath is a town in Flanders, Belgium, with one VirtualTourist page so far.)

    Updates: Thanks to VT member Oleg_D. for informing me that generals like Catinat did indeed wear armor. “In fact, he is wearing typical, mid - second part of XVII century cuirassier armor also known as “three quarters”. It protected less surface of the body than armors of previous centuries because it was thicker and could protect from the hit of a bullet. Unfortunately development of powder and fusil guns made the armor useless by the end of XVII century. Although for all XVIII century Army Commanders used armor as the sign of their office together with their batons.” For more details, see Oleg_D’s comments below this tip.

    Thanks also to breughel for pointing out that Ath is located in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, not in Flanders. (I thought it was in Flanders because that’s what Daniel Halévy said in his book on Vauban.) For more details, see breughel’s comments below.



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    Charles X

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 12, 2014

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    Charles X

    On my way out I made one exception and took a photo of this bust of Charles X (1757-1836), who was coronated as King of France on May 29, 1825 at the Cathedral of Reims.

    To polish up his image, Charles X commissioned the great Italian composer Gioachino Rossini to write an opera in honor of his coronation. What Rossini came up with was the lovely comic opera Il Viaggio a Reims (The Journey to Reims), which ends with an aria for soprano with solo harp accompaniment, All'ombra amena. This is announced in the opera as a tribute to Charles X, and it is no doubt a more beautiful tribute than he deserved.

    There are several videos of All'ombra amena on YouTube, for instance this one sung by Patrizia Ciofi at La Scala, Milan, in 2009:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPGZXjbTa2w

    Related tips/reviews:
    The Journey to Reims, Reims by Nemorino.
    The world’s first tourist opera, Il Viaggio a Reims in Frankfurt am Main.
    Au Printemps, a Paris shopping tip mentioning that inveterate shopper, the Countess of Folleville in Il Viaggio a Reims.
    Louvre: Musée Charles X, Louvre Tip by Nemorino.

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    Molière and Lully at the Royal Opera

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 10, 2014

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    Bows after the performance
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    All you loyal readers of my Lyon page (thanks again to both of you) might recall that in that city I went in unprepared to see a Molière play, Les Femmes savantes (The Learned Ladies), and understood most of it except for a few essential twists of the plot. These had me baffled until the next morning, when I bought a copy of the play and read it.

    So this time I took care to read the text of Molière's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The bourgeois nobleman) before I went to see it at the Royal Opera in Versailles. That was a good thing, because even though I didn’t understand every word they were saying (especially when they were yelling at the top of their lungs or trading obscure seventeenth century insults), I always knew what was going on and why.

    In this play, with songs and incidental music by Lully, the main character M. Jourdain is a cloth merchant who has made (and partly inherited) a large fortune and now has pretentions of becoming a nobleman. He hires various experts to teach him music, dancing, fencing and philosophy, and he tries to marry his daughter off to a foppish aristocrat. (The role of M. Jourdain was played by Molière himself in the original production in 1670.)

    In the end it is the daughter’s boyfriend who gets the idea of dressing up as a Turkish prince and doing a ridiculous ceremony to elevate M. Jourdain into the Turkish nobility – sort of like Rossini’s opera The Italian Girl in Algiers, but in reverse.

    Le Bourgeois gentilhomme has some of the same elements as Les Femmes savantes, but mixed up in a different way. In Les Femmes savantes the wife is the pretentious one who wants to marry off the daughter to a pedantic intellectual. In Le Bourgeois gentilhomme the wife is one of the sensible characters, along with the daughter and her boyfriend and especially the maid, who has some of the best lines in the whole piece.

    Twelve actors, five singers, three dancers and nine musicians were on the stage in Versailles. The elaborate and very funny staging was by Denis Podalydès.

    The costumes were by Christian Lacroix, a prominent fashion designer who has lately been designing costumes for the theater. He has even designed the costumes for two recent productions of the Frankfurt Opera: Adriana Lecouvreur by Francesco Cilea and Ezio by Christoph Willibald Gluck.

    Address: Château de Versailles – Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles
    Directions: Location and photo on monumentum.fr
    Website: http://www.chateauversailles-spectacles.fr/node/734


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    The Diana Salon

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 9, 2014

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    Here in the Diana Salon we have three girls with their audio guides gazing up at the ceiling, as Louis XIV looks on benignly from his pedestal in the background.

    This room was named after Diana, the Roman goddess of hunting (not the Diana you were thinking of).

    Second photo: This is the ceiling painting that the girls were looking at.

    Third photo: The painting above the fireplace is The Sacrifice of Iphigenia by Charles de la Fosse, from the year 1712. Sixty-two years later the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck wrote an opera about this called Iphigenie in Aulis, based on a play by the French dramatist Jean Racine (1639-1699), who in turn was inspired by the ancient Greek dramatist Euripides.

    The plot has to do with the half-hearted efforts of King Agamemnon to avoid sacrificing his daughter Iphigénie (Iphigenia) to the gods in return for favorable winds to he can sail his fleet to Troy and start fighting the Trojan War. At the end of the opera Iphigénie is saved but the wind comes up anyway, so they can all jubilantly sail off to war. This was considered a happy end at the time, but from a 21st century point of view it might have made more sense for the gods to strand the Greek fleet in the harbor indefinitely and thus prevent the war altogether.

    In 2005 I attended the premiere of a new production of this opera in Nürnberg. At the party after the premiere I had to comfort the stage director (with whom I was slightly acquainted from his visits to Frankfurt) because to his chagrin the wind machine hadn’t worked properly, so the whole point of the final scene was lost.

    Fourth photo: This sign in the Diana Salon calls it more prosaically the Diana Room and explains that it used to be Louis XIV’s billiard room. From the audio guide I learned that it was also known informally as the ‘applause room’, because the ladies of the court always applauded vociferously whenever the king scored a point at billiards.

    Website: http://thisisversaillesmadame.blogspot.de/2013/04/the-salon-of-diana.html


    Next: The Mars Salon

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    The Hercules Salon

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 9, 2014

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    When you start going around the King’s Grand Apartment on the first floor (i.e. one flight up) the first room you come to is the Hercules Salon. As I learned from the audio guide, the large painting on the side wall is The Meal at the House of Simon by Paolo Veronese (1528-1588). It was originally painted for the refectory of the Servite Convent in Venice in 1570, but 94 years later it was transported to Versailles and given by the Doge of Venice as a present to Louis XIV.

    Second photo: Looking out the window from the Hercules Salon at a very soggy palace garden in the rain.

    Third photo: Sign by the fireplace in the Hercules Salon.

    Directions: Location and photo on monumentum.fr
    Website: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover-estate/the-palace/the-palace/the-kings-grand-apartment


    Next: The Venus Salon

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    Opéra Royal

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 9, 2014

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    Louis XIV had intended from the start to have a Royal Opera House as part of his palace at Versailles.

    The site was chosen and plans were made as early as 1682, when Louis XIV first moved in to Versailles. Three years later construction work was started, but it was soon put on hold because of financial difficulties due to various wars that were going on at the time. The site remained dormant for over eighty years until Louis XIV’s successor, his great-grandson Louis XV, finally ordered the opera house to be completed.

    It was inaugurated by Louis XV on May 16, 1770 – the day of his grandson’s marriage to Marie-Antoinette – with a performance of the opera Persée by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687). This was an opera which had first been performed eighty-eight years earlier in a temporary theater in Versailles.

    Today the Royal Opera in Versailles is one of the oldest theaters in France that is still functioning as such – but it is not THE oldest, by any means. That honor goes to the Opéra-Théâtre in Metz, which was built between 1738 and 1753.

    Address: Château de Versailles – Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles
    Directions: Location and photo on monumentum.fr
    Website: http://www.chateauversailles-spectacles.fr/fr/opera-royal


    Next: Molière and Lully at the Royal Opera

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    The Venus Salon

    by Nemorino Written Mar 9, 2014

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    The elaborate ceiling paintings in this room of course depict Venus, the goddess of love, but also various ancient heros and scenes that have some connection to the planet Venus.

    Supposedly there is also a painting of the wedding of Louis XIV, but I must admit I got a stiff neck before locating that one.

    Website: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/index.php?option=com_cdvfiche&idfp=B25A2AE9-098D-0909-2054-3FA123674C32


    Next: The Diana Salon

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    The Mars Salon

    by Nemorino Written Mar 9, 2014

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    This room was named after the planet Mars but also after Mars, the god of war.

    Second photo: In the center of the ceiling there is a painting by Claude Audran (1657-1734) called Mars on a chariot drawn by wolves.

    Third and fourth photos: Decorations in the Mars Salon.

    Fifth photo: This sign in the Mars Salon (‘Mars Room’) explains that it was formerly used as a Guards’ Room and later as a Ballroom for evening receptions.

    Website: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/index.php?option=com_cdvfiche&idfp=0E56B3E2-C857-364C-D933-496254435C09


    Next: The King’s Room

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    Exteriors the most beautiful Castle in the World

    by gwened Updated Dec 23, 2013
    the pl d armes
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    Cant write enough ,its still my home for almost 10 years, and again today (busy day for visiting friends indeed), its magical wonderful and when you live here and see the world stops by, its gives me goosebumps. There is no words to say, its just one of those places on earth you must see at least once,and if you are lucky enough to see it every day, then blow my mind.
    2143 windows, 1252 fireplaces, and 67 staircases. The gardens included roughly 1400 fountains, using water pumped up from the Seine. The length of the garden front is 670 meters.

    see my other tips on it, for more détails.

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    Interiors of the most gorgeous castle in the world

    by gwened Updated Apr 2, 2013

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    The battle of Yorktown USA, French help US Ind.
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    Let's see my best writing so far on my castle. The wonderful Salon de Mars, see the wonderful painting, La Famille de Darius aux pieds d’Alexandre (1660) with the eyes of Louis XIV at Chateau de Fontainebleau done by Charles Le Brun, who had done Vaux-le-Vicomte,and also did the galerie d’Apollon at Louvre and considered the best French painter of the 17C.See the marble floors between the Salon de Mars and Salon de Diane in the Grand Appartement du roi; known as the Versailles style parquets, done first in 1684 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. on the ceiling of the Salon d’Apollon see the Apollon conduisant le char du soleil (1671-1678) just to imitate the father in law known in Spain as the planet king, so Louis XIV (married to Spanish queen Maria Thérese or in Spanish Maria Teresa, and where all Spanish bourbons kings descend today such as Juan Carlos I) . Move on to the same salon de Diane to see the work on the doors by the stairs de Maréchaux ,see the reliefs on the doors, the stairs was destroyed in 1752, the reliefs stayed on. It is now a small replica there and copy at the Chateau d’Herrenchiemsee in Germany.

    At the north wing, on the rooms of the 17C, you see the great courts of the portraits of woman of the court of Louis XIV; It is the room of beauties done in 1663, such as the duchess of La Valliére, Henriette of England, Princesse de Soubise or Princess of Monaco, Marie Mancini, or Anne Marie Martinozzi. Lovely indeed. At the cour de l’Hymen by the stair of the queen you see a trophy en metal cover with copper and lead, showing the marriage of Louis XIV to his cousin Marie-Thérese d’Austria to reconcile the quarrels between France and Spain done at St Jean de Luz in signing the treaty of the Pyrénées in 1659. You see the fatality of queens at the ceilings of the antichambre d grand couvert, grand appartement de la reine ,gorgeous. Go on to the first antichambre du roi done in 1686, vast and beautiful.

    The magnificent galerie des glaces done in 1681-1684, with 73 meters long and a canopy of almost 1000 square meters, as well as the ceilings of the salon de l’Abondance, grand appartement du roi. Here see the wonderful office cabinet furniture done in 1708. See the Salon de l’oeil de Boeuf, on the second antichambre in the appartement du roi; white ceilings done in 1701 but richly decorated along the walls. See the wonderful bedroom of Louis XIV at the appartement du roi. Here the king died on Sept 1st, 1715 after 60 years of reign.

    There is a big oval encrusted painting showing Louis XV offrering peace to Europe in 1729 in the Salon de la Paix(peace) that follows the Salon de la Guerre(war) to the Grand Appartements. You,also, see the calendars for the anniversaires of the chapel of the king, see at the Sacristie des Musiciens near the tribunes of the chapel done by 1770. You can see the bedroom of Louis XV by the interior appartement du roi,the king uses it from age 27,and he died there May 10, 1774, Louis XVI continue its use, one of the places in the castle where few could entered.

    See the wonderful dining room or salle à manger des retours de chasse in the interior appartement du roi; done in 1750 and held until 1769 the diners after his returns from hunting. There is a nice room call the Cabinet de l’appartement de Madame de Pompadour, in the small appartement du roi in the attic, on top of the salon de la guere. Here many rdv was held by the king and woman including putting here Mme de Pompadour,(real name Jeanne Antoinette Poisson), entered in the courts of Versailles in 1745, and lived her first five years in the castle here, she even had a small chapel once becoming a duchesse in 1752, she takes a jesuist as confessor in 1756, and while she was sick the king allows her to finish here in 1764, the only person of non royal blood to died in the castle, the king later said, ” Here is all the honors that I can give her, a friend of 20 years”.

    You can see the library, in the appartement du Dauphin, or heir to the throne, done in 1750, served for he of Louis XV and Louis XVI. The Grand Dauphin died at 49 in 1711 four years before Louis XIV while his son Philippe V or Felipe V ascend to the throne of Spain. You can see a wonderful pending clock or the pendule astronomique de passemant (1730-1740) at the Cabinet de la Pendule, interior appartement du roi. Given to the royal academy of sciences in 1749 it put here by Louis XV in 1754. It is programmable to be used until 9999! At the time it gave the time in the kingdom of France. You can see the library and bathroom of Madame du Barry, petit appartement du roi (second floor french ,3rd floor US), before becoming the favorite of king Louis XV, she was a saleslady in a boutique n the rue saint honoré de Paris. Louis XV keeps her at the age of 25 when she came to lived in the castle. In kicking out Madame du Barry by Louis XVI he takes over the room and you now see the Grand Cabinet in the appartement du Comte de Maurepas, the advisor to king Louis XVI not a good one after his bad advice Versailles came from being the birthplace of the monarchy to its tomb.

    Another favorite is the Salle à manger des Porcelaines, or porcelain dining room. It was the last dining room used by Louis XV after his hunting runs, and later became a formal dining room under Louis XVI;its in the interior appartement du roi. Another favorite item is the chandelier or imperiale du lit de Marie Antoinette n the bedroom of the queen. The room has been done exactly as the last day the queen use it on October 6, 1789. Furniture is from 1787 and the bed is from 1769 all renovated. Just think here 19 royal children of France including Louis XV ,and Felipe V of Spain were born. Come to see the Cabinet Doré , interior cabinets of the queen, done in 1783, one of the most beautiful piece of the queen, the harp was done in 1774.

    There is a passage from the bedroom of the queen(chambre de la reine) and the Salon de l’oeil de Boeuf; early on October 6, 1789 the queen was awaken by a large noise, the Parisiens arrives, the Salles des Gardes there was havoc, the room ladies help Marie Antoinette opening the small door to the left of her bed,and she takes leaves by the passages that led to the bedroom of the king. They met there in the passages, while the crowds gather at the cour des marbres and invades the castle. From the king’s bedroom (chambre du roi), La Fayette( he who help the US independance as lafayette) and a few granadiers battle the insurgents protecting the royals ,while they arrive at the salon de l’Oeil de Boeuf. They needed to leave Versailles…

    You come to another of my favorites, the Galerie des Batailles or the battle gallery, at the central wing or aile du midi, (1 floor or 2nd Fl US) You see 16 paintings in bronce done from 1834-1836 with engraving of 528 names: 36 princes of the royal house, 10 admirals, 6 connatables,25 mariscals, 33 warriors,18 commanders, and 400 officers dead in combat for France. It describes the military history from Clovis to Napoleon, with 92 busts and 33 paintings of famous battles including the famous USA battle for indepedance at Yorktown. See the magnificent Porte de l’Hospice des Chevaliers de Saint Jean de Jerusalem; at the salles des Croisades, the door is sculpture in cedar wood and bath of bronze from Rhodes Greece dating from 1512! ,from 1837-1839 the room was embellished with 150 paintings representing the period of the crusades. Right around there, see the stair or Escalier de l’attique Chimay, to go to the attic Chimay, that extend the one of the queen done during the time of Louis XIV, but the king Louis Philippe, does from 1833-1837 true marble of colors and dust with a paste that gives the impression of seeing glass. The lady in room of Marie Antoinette was to have live here 14 years but actually stayed in the attic of the central wing just behind the glasses of the galerie des batailles/ So her name princess of Chimay,Laure-Auguste de Fitz-James who never lived here but the name stayed on. See the sculptures des Grands Hommes de France, galerie de Pierre, north wing 1 fl or aile nord. four galleries of stones, done in 1776 for the grand galerie du louvre but by Louis XVI here. The project of a museum to the great man of France is the idea of the assamblée Générale that in 1791 starts the Central Museum of the Arts, and on 1797 Versailles welcome the special museum of the French School of Arts. The most remarkable of the statues sculpture here is that made in marble of Joanne d’Arc done by Marie d’Orléans second daughter of the king Louis Philippe done in 1837.

    The French republic is ,also,here, the aile du midi or the middle wing served until 1958 to hold the National elections to hold the parlamentarians that came here to name a President of France. You see the mongrams FF as not to confused the R with the republican party of France, see it at the corniche de la Salle du Congrés du Parlement de Versailles, aile d midi or middle wing. Same wing, see the Pavillon de Provence, the Bureau or cabinet du Président du Congrés or e l’Investiture. The old salon of the countess of Provence came to be under the IV République Française the working office of the president of the National Assembly or Assamblée Nationale. From the 1879 to 1953 14 presidents of France were elected here! Now is the lieu of work when the French constitution needs revision,changes or amenmends.

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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Palace

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jan 26, 2012

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    Versailles - Palace
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    The palace has two floors. On the ground floor there are dophin apartments - royal children. On the second floor there are main apartments, and also apartments of the king and the queen. Besides in the left wing of a building the Museum of history of France is located. the main apartments and the Museum of history are opened for free visiting without a guide.

    You can watch my 5 min 30 sec Video Versailles Palace out of my Youtube channel.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    you must see the castle at least once in your life

    by gwened Updated Dec 31, 2011
    Front grill door entrance
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    wonderful and glorious, the history of a country n a castle museum. Yes the power of the rulers in a magnificent castle to surpassed any, and then save under the Republic by a smart king Louis Philippe who in 1837 created a museum to preserve the glory of France.

    You must see it to believe it. Its a huge property even today at 37 hectares from the original 807 but it is my backyard for almost 9 years now, if need detail info let me know.

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Château - Practical Info 2011.

    by breughel Updated Feb 20, 2011

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    Ch��teau - Entrance without and with tickets.
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    UPDATES FOR 2011.

    ENTRANCES :
    On the left A = Palace main entrance for individual visitors with tickets.
    Tickets for individual visitors are sold at the Billeterie, building on the left called aile Sud des Ministres - South Ministers' Wing.
    If you came only to visit the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate purchase your tickets directly at the entrance of the Grand Trianon or Marie-Antoinette's Estate.

    On the right B = Groups access.

    OPENING TIMES :
    1/11 - 31/03/2011
    Palace.
    Every day except Mondays, 9 – 17.30 h
    Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate.
    Every day except Mondays, 12 – 17.30 h
    Garden and Park.
    Every day except Mondays, 8 – 18 h.

    1/04 - 31/10/2011
    Palace.
    Every day except Mondays, 9 – 18.30.
    Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate.
    Every day except Mondays, 12 – 18.30 h.
    Garden and Park.
    Open every day, 8 – 20.30 h

    CLOSING DATES: 1/01, 25/04, 1/05, 13/06, 15/08, 25/12/2011.

    The info hereafter for 2008 is outdated but I keep it as a souvenir.

    Just back from a visit to Versailles (22/07/2008) I observed that a number of information given on the official website is not actual anymore.
    When you pass the exterior gate you will have on the left (photo 1) a red panel indicating Billets - Tickets > where you have to buy your ticket (this is unchanged). On the right of that panel stands one with indication A > this entrance is for all individuals having a ticket or a Paris museum pass (photo 2 at 4 pm.).
    There is no gate C anymore for the Paris Museum Pass in contradiction with what your will read on the Paris museum pass and previous info from Versailles website. On the extreme right is the entrance for groups.
    As more and more visitors buy their ticket in advance you find already a line at 9 hour at the opening of the gate A >. Here visitors pass in a prefab "pavilion" with 3 detector frames (photo 3). They check your bag.
    From here you can go where you want, usually the circuit of the "Château de Versailles" with the highlights "Galerie des Glaces" and "Chambre du Roi".

    The crowds at the Château de Versailles attain a maximum in summer season, by nice weather (no fun to visit the kilometres of gardens in the rain), and on Tuesday when the Louvre is closed.
    Don't think that there will be no lines in the late afternoon. My pic n°4 shows a 200 m line for buying tickets at 16.30 h but on an exceptional sunny day.

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    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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