I love visiting the Palace of Versailles. Often the crowds can be a bit daunting but there is nothing better than letting the history of the time come alive in these beautiful rooms with their over the top, opulent decororation.
This time, we decided to go behind the scenes and visit the King’s private apartments. Our guide, Deborah Anthony, had excelled with her tour of the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon as well as Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet, so we were looking forward to this visit.
The interior court of the Palace was looking stunning. The gilt on the roof and balconies had recently been restored and everything was sparkling.
To see the private apartments, you must be accompanied by one of Versailles’s own guides as well as a security guard.
Our guide, Dominic, was extremely knowledgeable. His own personal interest was in the fashion of the time, so he was often pointing little titbits out in the paintings or decorations.
One of the interesting things he mentioned was that after the Revolution, all the furniture and works of art were sold. Whilst some have been returned and gifted back, a lot of the furniture and has been bought back by Versailles. The Friends of Versailles , a group which we happily joined, raises funds for the restoration and purchase of these when they come up for sale.
In one of Marie Antoinette’s rooms, this beautiful box caught my eye. It was used for storing her babies’ clothes
Both Louis XV and Louis XVI were interested in the sciences
This clock belonging to Louis XV shows the time, the day of the week, the month, the year and the moon’s quarter. It has been designed to last up to 9999!
The planets can be seen revolving around the sun in the chrystal dome on top.
The dining room was created originally for Louis XV but used a lot by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette for their ‘society suppers’. It is called the Porcelain Room not only because of the porcelain on display ( including the paintings) but because each year at Christmas, the King, who owned the Sevres factory, would use it as a showroom where the courtiers could come and buy presents.
Louis XVI’s dressing room is entered from a door hidden in his bedchamber. It is quite an extraordinary space lined with wood carving decorated in gilt.
As we were saying goodbye to Dominic, I gazed at the new modern sculpture at the entrance. Whilst I love modern sculpture, I am not sure that this is the place for it.
What do you think?