>> C'est Quoi Versailles ?

Versailles? But which Versailles?
Is it a national monument, a palace known all over the world, a collection of astounding landscaped gardens, the megalomaniac project of an absolute monarch in search of a place that would reflect his power? Versailles is all these, and a whole lot more. It was a home to thousands of courtiers vying for royal favours, a place of struggle to be favourite, a setting for entertainment, which included festivals, ballets and balls. Versailles was also a permanent construction site that each monarch added to as he pleased, but without altering the original plans. Louis XIV asked Le Nôtre to put a little bit of childhood into the gardens, Louis XV lay down on the floor to admire the vaulted ceiling painted by Le Brun, Marie Antoinette milked her cows in the hamlet built, at her request, at the far end of the parkland. And last but not least, Versailles is a fantasy that lives on in our collective memory and continues to inspire the most unexpected artists.
Which of these Versailles will you choose?

Retrouve les 9 oeuvres

Découvre les trois thèmes

# The Machine King

According to the Duke of Saint Simon, one had only to know the time of day to know what the king was doing. As an advocate of the rules of etiquette that he refined to an extreme degree, Louis XIV stage-managed his life right down to the most anodyne, trivial gesture. The king rose, dressed, walked, worked and ate in public, in front of hundreds of kowtowing courtiers.

Louis XIV’s day, November 16th, 1700
Louis XIV’s guide to the gardens of Versailles
The King is Dancing

# Le Grand Siècle

This was the name given to the 17th century in France, and more specifically to the reign of Louis XIV. It was a century, which saw the emergence of classicism in literature as well as in architecture. Louis XIV’s plan was to make Versailles a monument to royal grandeur, so he surrounded himself with a number of artists for whom he created the Royal Academy of Dance (1661), the Royal Academy of Music (1669) and the Comedie Française (1680).

The Imaginary Invalid
Andre Le Notre: Gardener to the Sun King

# Court Society

By creating the most dazzling court in Europe, Louis XIV sought to tame the nobility, even to enslave them, for those who lived outside the Court simply had no power or purpose. Versailles was home to nearly 6,000 courtiers who relied on the extravagance and generosity of their king. They had to accept the constraints of a life where they were continuously on display and face fierce competition to be the favourite to hold the king’s candlestick at bedtime, or to be entitled to sit in an armchair or on a stool.

Royal Affairs in Versailles


  • 1 - Jeff Koons : He is an American sculptor born in 1955 in York. His kitsch and pop works are installed in all major capitals of the world. Jeff Koons is one of the most famous and expensive artists in the world.
  • 2 - Anish Kapoor : Is an artist born March 12, 1954 in Bombay, India. His work is inspired by Western culture and its oriental origins. In 2016 Anish Kapoor became the owner of the patent for Vantablack, a variety of black invented by a British company. This is the first time a person buys the exclusive right of a material for artistic use.
  • 3 - The kings of France after Louis XIV : Details in French
  • 4 - Nicolas Fouquet : French statesman, Marquis of Belle-Île, viscount of Melun and Vaux, born in January 1615, died March 23, 1680, was superintendent of finance at the time of Mazarin.
  • 5 - Enslave : submit to his will, reduce to slavery.

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