The Palace of Versailles, Versailles

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  • cour de marbres inside domaine
    cour de marbres inside domaine
    by gwened
  • the pl d armes
    the pl d armes
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  • inside the parvis on eaux musicales day
    inside the parvis on eaux musicales day
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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    The info hereafter for 2008 is outdated but I keep it as a souvenir.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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    Grille Royale - The restored Royal Gate.

    by breughel Updated Feb 4, 2011

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    Ch��teau de Versailles - Grille Royale

    In the time of King Louis XIV till Louis XVI an 80 m length monumental gate separated the Main courtyard from the Royal Court. The gate was created by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart about 1680 and was destroyed by the revolutionaries in 1789.
    The reconstitution of this Royal Gate started in 2006 and was ended in July 2008. It required 15 tons of iron and the cooperation of the best craftsmen of this art. The gilders patiently applied by hand 100.000 gold sheets. These gold leaves measure 8 X 8 cm and have only 2 microns thickness!

    The courtyard of the Château de Versailles appears like it was prior to the French Revolution but there have been a number of critics in France about this reconstitution.

    The bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV set up at this spot in 1836 by king Louis-Philippe has been removed and is being restored. The famous statue, so often photographed by tourists, will not return to its original site now occupied by the restored gate but will be located on the Place d'Armes directly in the axis of the castle.

    ===================

    Sous l'ancien régime un grille monumentale de 80 m de long séparait la Cour d'Honneur de la Cour Royale. Elle fut créée par l'architecte Jules Hardouin-Mansart vers 1680 et détruite à la révolution en 1789.
    Sa reconstitution s'est terminée en juillet 2008. Elle a nécessité 15 tonnes de fer et le concours des meilleurs artisans de cet art. Les doreurs ont patiemment appliqués 100.000 feuilles d'or à la main. Ces feuilles d'or mesurent 8 x 8 cm et ont une épaisseur de seulement 2 microns!

    La statue équestre en bronze de Louis XIV que le roi Louis-Philippe avait fait ériger en 1836 à l'emplacement de la grille disparue a été enlevée et est actuellement en cours de restauration. Les photos de cette statue publiées encore récemment ici ne sont donc pas des plus actuelles mais il est dit que la célèbre statue de Louis XIV sera placée sur la Place d'Armes dans l'axe du château.

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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.

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    Palace of Versailles

    by Dabs Updated Dec 11, 2008

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    Versailles
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    The Palace and grounds are the main or perhaps only reason why visitors to Paris make the trek out to Versailles. Even though the palace is partially under construction and seems that it has been for awhile and will be for awhile longer, it's still one of the grandest palaces in Europe thanks to the Sun King (Louis XIV) and his heirs.

    I think most visitors follow the same path through the Palace and grounds, start first with the Palace and then onto the gardens and finally to the Grand and Petit Trianon which in those days without modern transport seemed far enough away from the Palace to be a retreat for the kings and queens who got tired of courtiers and decadent palace life.

    You can easily spend most of the day here if you see everything there is to see, come armed with a prepurchased pass and avoid the ticket lines, come armed with a picnic lunch and you can enjoy eating it along the banks of the grand canal under the shade of a tree.

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    The Chateau, of course

    by shdw100 Written Aug 21, 2003

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    When here, you must see the chateau (It is closed on Mondays) It is absolutely breathtaking to see such an enourmous structure which originally started out as a small hunting lodge turn into the largest palace in Europe. It was started by Louis XIII in 1623, then greatly expanded by Louis XIV. By 1682, it become the official residence of the Court of France. Work was finally completed on the Grand Staircase in 1985. At the chateau's pinnacle, it was said to be able to hold up to 20,000 servants. It's no wonder the French people started a revolution!

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    Royal Chapel

    by Dabs Updated Dec 7, 2008

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    Royal Chapel
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    After collecting our headsets, the Royal Chapel was the 1st room on the tour of the interior of the Palace. You can't enter the chapel so you and 50 other people will likely be jostling each other in the entrance way in order to try and snap a photo. The architecture is both gothic with stained glass, and gargoyles and baroque with carved pillars, painted vaults, and marble tiling.

    The last three kings, Louis XIV, VX and XVI, attended mass here on the upper level of the chapel, the downstairs nave was filled with courtiers and ladies of the court.

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    Chateau de Versailles

    by Aaron7 Written Jan 10, 2003

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    Chateau de Versailles (Versailles)
    Huge chateau built by Louis XIV, the Sun King. Very luxurious, and home to the fabled Hall of Mirrors. (Be warned it's crowded) You can also tour the king's apartments or the Parlimentary Museum. There is also a hall filled with beautiful paintings of all the battles France has been in since the time of Clovis and statues of famous Frenchmen.

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  • garridogal's Profile Photo

    To the palace!

    by garridogal Updated Jul 12, 2009

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    Just a few hundred tourists...
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    We saw Versailles on a hot and sunny June Saturday. Needless to say, it was crowded. Our entrance to the palace was delayed on account of a union "situation". Although we arrived at 10:30 the line at the entrance was at a standstill but fortunately, said situation was resolved within around 20 minutes.

    That being said, even though we had a delay and the crowds seemed astronomical in proportion, Versailles is fabulous! This is why I took many, many photos and posted them in my travelogues. Hope you enjoy.

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    The Diana Salon

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 9, 2014

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    Girls with audio guides
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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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    Royal Chapel

    by TexasDave Updated Dec 21, 2010

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    The present chapel is the 5th built at Versailles, in 1689-1699, and consecrated in 1710. It is the tallest room in the palace, disrupting the roof-line of the rest of the building.
    Decorations throughout the chapel incorporate both Old and New Testament themes.
    The sunburst above the altar contains the Tetragrammaton, WHWH, Hebrew letters representing God's name, which in English is translated Jehovah.

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  • mvtouring's Profile Photo

    Saint-Louis royal chapel

    by mvtouring Updated Oct 22, 2008

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    A two-storey palatine chapel. Built and decorated from 1699 to 1710 under the direction of Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte
    The Tribune was reserved for the King and the royal family.
    The side galleries for the ladies of the court and the ground floor for the rest of the attendees.

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    The Hercules Salon

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 9, 2014

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    The Hercules Salon
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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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    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


    Next: Statue of Nicolas de Catinat

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    Opéra Royal

    by Nemorino Updated Mar 9, 2014

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    Ceiling of Op��ra Royal
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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 Royal Chapel

    by Nemorino Updated Apr 14, 2014

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    The Royal Chapel
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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



    Next: The Hercules Salon

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