Experience Versailles Palace
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The Palace of Versailles Opens Its Digital Doors, A Free Tour of Everything
“It’s not a palace, it’s an entire city. Superb in its size, superb in its matter.” — Charles Perrault, 1687
Here’s my guide to taking a virtual tour of the Palace of Versailles. Versailles is the most ornate and famous royal chateau in France. Once hidden away behind closed doors, the palace is now yours for digital viewing at home from your couch or computer screen.
Versailles is honestly one of my least favorite places in France to visit in real life. The lines are spectacularly long. The palace spectacularly crowded. It’s hard to really admire the royal handiwork with the crush of people.
READ : Tourist Traps To Skip in Paris
But in this time of global uncertainly and angst — a time of canceled vacations and missed travel opportunities — the Palace of Versailles has generously opened its digital doors, at least temporarily.
The palace is offering an unprecedented free virtual tour to experience from home. Everything can be seen; nothing is omitted.
Short History of the Palace of Versailles
The UNESCO-listed Palace of Versailles was once the center and cultural heartbeat of Europe, until the French Revolution. The Sun King Louis XIV transformed his father’s hunting lodge into a monumental palace in the mid 17th century.
The palace was France’s political capital and royal seat from 1682 to 1789. The royal court had 3,000 residents.
The Palace of Versailles is ornately decorated, to say the least. It’s massive, flashy, and very, very gold. The opulence is overwhelming. Even the bathrooms are gold plated.
As exemplifies the Baroque style, the palace was decorated with gilding, stucco, arabesques, frescoed vaulted ceilings, mirrors, and tromp l’oeil effects. The king’s apartments were in the center, because the world revolved around him.
But the palace itself wasn’t enough for the king who ruled by divine right. In 1687, Louis XIV built the Grand Trianon. This swishy pad is where Louis XIV escaped the viper pit of court life and pursued his affair with Madame de Montespan.
The architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, described the refined structure as “a little palace of pink marble and porphyry, with marvelous gardens.”
Aside from Louis XIV, Versailles’ most famous occupant was Marie Antoinette . The queen made major changes to the palace’s decor in the 18th century. With the exception of the Hall of Mirrors, the interior is more Louis XVI style than Louis XIV style.
Marie Antoinette also adored the Petit Trianon, a little Neo-Classical palace on the grounds. When Louis XVI inherited it, he gifted it to his queen, saying “This pleasure house is yours.”
The Petit Trianon bears her distinctive decor and ornamentation — ornate floral motifs run amok in cornflower blue, lilac, and green, without the glitz of the main palace.
Not content with just the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette hired two architects to create a pastoral fantasy for her, the Hameau de la Reine.
On the surface, the Queen’s Hamlet appeared as a rural village of crackled tumbledown cottages and wisteria vines. (The countryside was fashionable at the time.) But inside, the cottages were decked out.
READ : Guide To the Marie Antoinette Trail in Paris
Designed by Andre Le Notre, the gardens of the Palace of Versailles are also a vast showstopper. Louis XIV wanted a verdant display to demonstrate his power and to entertain VIPs.
It’s one of the most influential landscape designs in French history — with a series of geometric gardens, groves, fountains, and parks.
Virtual Tour of the Palace of Versailles
The palace has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to present its virtual exhibits online. Google takes users on a journey of the palace’s rich decor and art collection of over 22,000 pieces.
You can also take an amazing virtual tour on the Palace of Versailles’ website . Nothing is left out! For example, you can stroll through:
1. The famed Hall of Mirrors (one of the most famous rooms in the world). You
have a 360 view of the Hall of Mirrors here .
2. The King’s Apartments
3. The Queen’s Apartment s
4. The Royal Chapel
5. The Grand Trianon
6. The Petit Trianon
7. The Queen’s Hamlet
8. The amazing fountains in the garden
9. The lavish Le Notre gardens
10. The art galleries
11. The Napoleon Rooms
12. Marie Antoinette’s private chambers
13. The Coronation Room
And there are plenty of online virtual exhibitions and stories to whet your appetite or feed your soul. This is the perfect opportunity to discover the secrets behind the fashions of Versailles , how Louis XIV honed his political image , the jewelry worn at Versailles, or the gossip about Louis XIV’s long reigning mistress Madame de Montespan .
Versailles 3D , created by Google, also gives you an impressive 3D tour of Versailles. For the latest photos and stories, you can check out the Palace of Versailles’ Facebook page .
If you’ve watched the BBC’s Versailles TV series, you visit the filming locations via my guide .
READ : 3 Day itinerary for Paris
I hope you’ve enjoyed my virtual Versailles guide. You may enjoy these other virtual tours of France attractions:
Virtual Musee d’Orsay
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Last Updated on November 9, 2021 by Leslie Livingston
Tour of the Hall of Mirrors
Virtual tour of the hall of mirrors at the palace of versailles in 360°.
By Palace of Versailles
The Hall of Mirrors
In 1678, Louis XIV commissioned the Hall of Mirrors from Jules Hardouin-Mansart. The ornamentation is on a monumental scale: 17 windows, 17 mirror-ornamented arches, 8 busts of Roman Emperors, 8 statues of ancient divinities and a vaulted ceiling composed of 30 paintings.
The vault is a masterpiece by Charles Le Brun, illustrating the history of the first 18 years of Louis XIV’s reign. The Hall of Mirrors is both a concourse, a reception room and a place of royal splendour.
Vase with Dogs Palace of Versailles
Vase "with Dogs"
Louis XIV brought together at Versailles more than 100 vases in rare ornamental stone, of which the majority were in porphyry. In order to decorate the great space of the Hall of Mirrors, porphyry vases were ordered directly from the stone-cutting workshops in Rome.
Vase with Twists Palace of Versailles
In 1685, the production of antique vases in yellow marble was entrusted to Giovanni-Antonio Tedeschi. The twists that adorn their bellies are inspired by the usual decoration found on porphyry vases but the delicacy of their sculpting reflects the fine grain of the marble.
German and Spanish alliance with the Dutch Republic by Charles Le Brun Palace of Versailles
German & Spanish Alliance with the Dutch Republic
The Alliance of Germany and Spain with Holland, 1672, Charles Le Brun. Weapons are being forged on the left while troops are preparing on the right. Fleeing blacksmiths and scattered weapons may be seen in the symmetrical composition at the other end of the gallery.
The Dutch Republic accepts peace and breaks away from Germany and Spain by Charles Le Brun Palace of Versailles
The Dutch Republic Accepts Peace
The Dutch Republic accepts peace and breaks away from Germany and Spain, 1678, Charles le Brun. The two paintings at either end of the hall are linked: one shows the union of France’s enemy powers, while the other shows their disunity.
The King ruling by himself, 1661 by Charles Le Brun Palace of Versailles
The King Ruling by Himself, 1661
This painting was “the principal key to everything”. The King is in the centre, seated on his throne, holding the “tiller of the state” in his right hand. The three Graces around him symbolise the talents that Heaven has granted him.
Prosperity of France’s neighbouring powers by Charles Le Brun Palace of Versailles
Prosperity of France’s Neighbouring Powers
In the 18th century, the word "prosperity" was used instead of "pride" but the original meaning of the composition was then lost: it was the pride of the Empire, Spain and Holland that justified France going to war.
The Siamese Embassy, 1686
In 1686, Versailles had an unprecedented visit from the ambassadors of Siam, now Thailand. On this extraordinary occasion, the Hall of Mirrors was adorned with sumptuous silver furnishings, which have since disappeared.
The courtiers stood on either side of the hall to welcome the ambassador of Siam and his suite. Once they had walked through the Hall of Mirrors, the ambassador and his party came to the nine steps at the top of which sat the Sun King on his solid silver throne.
South end of the gallery
Place of the silver throne during the reception of the Siamese embassy.
To see the reception of the Embassy of Siam in 1686 for yourself, take a look on Steam! Travel through time with “ Experience Versailles ”, a free virtual reality immersion in history.
The Treaty of Versailles, 1919
28 June 1919. After four years of terrible war, the Treaty of Versailles brought an end to the first global conflict in history, in the Hall of Mirrors. For the occasion, 24 carpets were borrowed from the Mobilier National and laid out on the waxed floorboards.
In the centre was a long horseshoe-shaped table and some 200 chairs. Opposite, sitting symbolically under the painting “The King Governs by Himself”, was a Louis XV bureau, on which sat the Treaty, waiting to be signed.
Center of the gallery
Place where the Louis XV desk was put for all diplomatic stakeholder to sign the peace Treaty.
The Treaty of Versailles backstage
On June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles is signed in the Hall of Mirrors. Get behind the scenes of the preparation of this historic day and discover, thanks to original archives, how the Palace of Versailles entered in History.
Sciences at Versailles part 1: science & power
Palace of versailles, sciences at versailles part 2: astronomy, queen of sciences, sciences at versailles part 3: discovering new worlds, geography, sciences at versailles part 4: cascade creation, water engineering, sciences at versailles part 5: botany & zoology, a taste for exoticism, sciences at versailles part 6: fit for a king, medicine and surgery, sciences at versailles part 7 : the science show, physics and chemistry, sciences at versailles part 8: mechanics, automatons and hot-air balloons, louis xiv / nicolas fouquet: a certain history of taste, palace of versailles - the château of vaux le vicomte, a place at the royal table.
Here's how to explore Château de Versailles without travelling to France
Oct 8, 2019 • 1 min read
You can explore Château de Versailles by virtual reality © Dea / G. Sioen/ Getty Images
If you would love to see around Château de Versailles in France from the comfort of your sofa, Google Arts & Culture has just completed an immersive virtual-reality re-creation of the palace that the country's most famous kings once called home.
Louis XIV transformed his father’s hunting lodge into the monumental Château de Versailles in the mid-17th century, and it remains France’s most famous and grand palace. Situated in the leafy, bourgeois suburb of Versailles, 22km southwest of central Paris, the baroque château was the kingdom’s political capital and the seat of the royal court from 1682 up until the fateful events of 1789 when revolutionaries massacred the palace guard. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were ultimately dragged back to Paris, where they were guillotined.
From the comfort of your own home, you can check out a new online exhibition, Versailles: The Palace is Yours . The new app, VersaillesVR, takes visitors on a virtual reality tour of the château's Royal Grand Apartments, the Chapel and the Opera. Photogrammetry was used to capture the imagery, which is a technology that reconstructs three-dimensional models of objects and landmarks from two-dimensional photographs.
"It’s an invitation to discover the secrets of Versailles, and a magnificent sneak peek for those who might plan to visit in person," says Catherine Pégard, president of the Palace of Versailles , writing on Google's blog. "Though nothing will ever replace the emotion of actually stepping into the Palace, we hope this visual immersion might inspire you to do just that."
Viewers can also see 18 new online exhibitions featuring 340 artworks, as well as 18 never-before-seen 3D models of iconic rooms and objects. You can also explore the 73-metre-long Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Bed or Marie-Antoinette’s jewellery cabinet.
You can check out the VersaillesVR app here.
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Look Inside the French Palace of Versailles
Tour of the palace of versailles.
The Palace of Versailles stands as a testament to the power and wealth that the French royal family had before its demise. It was originally constructed in 1682 under the order of King Louis XIV, the Sun King, and served as the royal residence until his grandson, Louis XVI, was removed during the French Revolution in 1789.
A total of 700 rooms are found within the 720,000-square-foot palace that rests on more than 2,000 acres just outside of Paris. Yes, that makes it one of the largest palaces in the world.
Have you ever wanted to see inside? While it is impossible to see all of the rooms in this massive palace, tours are available that showcase the first floor, where the kings and queens lived out their days surrounded by courtiers. But you don't need to visit France to get a peek at the boujee chateaux. Follow along on our tour!
Map of Versailles' Ground Floor
To enter Versailles meant entering the King's State Apartment in the northwestern wing of the first floor, as you can see on this map you can follow as we take you through more than two dozen rooms.
The King's State Apartment consisted of seven grand rooms designed to be imposing and lavish — just the king's way of letting the world know who he was.
As you made your way through the apartments, you were part of a parade to reach the King's private rooms. Ready to see inside?
Room of Abundance
Entering the Palace, the first sight for a courtier or guest would be the intimate Salon d'Abondance, or Drawing Room of Plenty.
Here, coats would be taken and one could catch their breath before being led through the parade of halls to follow. The room was filled with refreshments, with coffee and wine available to begin or end your evening.
Officially the main entrance of the King's State Apartment, the Venus Room is located at the top of the Ambassador's Staircase, or Grand Degre, which was destroyed in 1752.
This room begins the theme of mythology in the rooms, as Louis XIV himself was called the Sun King. Venus, the goddess of Love, is painted on the ceiling of the room.
During evening events, this room was filled with fresh fruit and flowers.
The goddess of the hunt and sister to the sun god, Apollo, received recognition in this room named for her. Hunting scenes are found on the walls and in paintings.
Louis XIV used this room to play billiards, and the room had tiered seating for guests to watch him compete. But you're not in the "real" State Apartments yet. The space is considered yet one more entrance before the State Apartments truly begin.
Each of the three main State Apartment rooms features walls of a bold red, symbolizing courage, war, vigor and love.
As the god of war, Mars was appropriate for this room that was mainly used as a guard room during the day and transformed into a ballroom during evening events.
Often called the bedroom, the Mercury Room was originally the King's bedchamber before he relocated it to a much smaller space behind the walls of the Hall of Mirrors.
The king then used this room, instead, for game tables. However, the museum added the bed to the room to showcase it in its original state.
The Sun King saved the best room for last, dedicating this room to the god of the sun and of war.The king used it as his throne room, which featured his "silver" throne — an armchair bedecked in sculptures and plaques of silver.
Hanging above the fireplace is a copy of the famous portrait of the king, painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud. The original hangs in the Louvre, but during the king's reign, it called the Apollo Room home.
War Drawing Room
At the end of the parade that covered the northwestern wing of the palace comes the corner drawing room known as the War Room, which was completed in 1686.
This marble-filled room features gilded trophies and weapons celebrating war victories of the French. The bas-relief in the faux-fireplace, for example, depicts Clio, the muse of history, recording the kings' victories, while the relief above it features Louis XIV trampling his enemies on horseback.
Hall of Mirrors
As you leave the War Drawing Room behind, you enter the room most famous for bringing peace: the Hall of Mirrors. This room was actually supposed to be a large terrace but became ornately decorated in a Baroque style with 357 mirrors displayed. The Venetian mirrors, during the time of the kings, illustrated wealth, so it was just one more extravagance of the king.
More importantly, however, this is the very hall where the Treaty of Versailles was signed, creating peace between the Allies and Germany following World War I.
Peace Drawing Room
After war and a treaty comes peace, and this corner room on the opposite end of the western wing is so called. It's not one of the King's State Apartments, though. This is the last room of the Queen's Grand Apartments.
Found in the southwestern wing, the apartments mirrored the king's on the opposite side of the palace and were made for Louis XIV's wife, Queen Maria Theresa.
The Queen's bedchamber was open to court as it was common for the queen's toileting and childbirth to be on display. The queens did give birth in this room, although, thankfully, they were allowed a screen to give them some privacy.
Maria Theresa died in this bedroom shortly after these rooms were ready for her. The king then turned her collection of apartments into his personal apartments.
When Queen Marie Leszcznska, the wife of King Louis XV, lived in these apartments, she used this room to hold her formal audiences with the ladies of the court, sitting in a circle.
The decor of this room, however, is credited to Marie Antoinette, who didn't like the original look.
An odd tradition during the era of French royalty was to watch the king and queen eat dinner. Called the Grand Couvert, this is the room where the public could come watch the couple dine.
Louis XIV had dinner here almost every night, but his son Louis XV liked dinners in private, and Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette only dined here once a week. The young queen added a platform for musicians and had music played during the event.
As the official entrance into the Queen's Apartments and located at the top of the Marble Staircase, this is where 12 guards were stationed night and day.
As such, the queens never used this room, and its decor is the original of the palace — one of the few!
Although it is called the Coronation Room, this room was the guardhouse until the French Revolution and the rise of the First Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte.
He was crowned in 1804 but not here. He was crowned in Paris, so this is actually where the greatest paintings of his reign were on display, including one celebrating his crowning.
The Queen's Library
The queen did have some privacy, especially in this library that overlooks the Dauphin's Courtyard.
This room was given to Marie Antoinette while she was Dauphine and has remained intact since she used the space.
Within the center of the palace, overlooking the Marble Courtyard, was the king's private rooms.
Louis XV relocated his bedchamber to this small south-facing location because it was easier to keep heated. He died in the room in 1774, and the room became the bedchamber to King XVI, the last King of France.
The French kings were known for keeping mistresses, especially Louis XV, who is said to have cried when his love, Madame de Pompadour, died.
Just a short — and private — walk to the king's private apartments, the space is actually found on the second floor and was an attic above the Mars, Mercury and Apollo rooms.
The upper floors of the palace housed the royal family and courtiers and is where the Dauphine's chambers were located. Dauphines were the wives of the Dauphins, heirs to the throne — the French versions of princess and prince.
Before Marie Antoinette became queen, she used this collection of rooms that included a bedchamber and a sitting room.
The Gilded Room
Belonging to Madame Adelaide, the daughter of King XV, this private chamber served as a school for the princess.
The king also used the room for privacy and having his coffee.
King's Dining Room
One of the two rooms that had been Adelaide's apartments, this dining room overlooks the courtyard and was transformed by the king for his post-hunt dinners. (Remember, he liked his dinners private.)
When Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette ruled, this was one of their favorite rooms, where they would have dinner with their closest friends.
Louis XVI's Games Rooms
Connected to the dining room, this room became a game room for Louis XVI.
After dining, the dinner party could continue in this room well into the night.
Louis XVI's Library
The first room in the palace commissioned by Louis XVI when he became a young king was a new library.
As the younger family members lived on the upper floors, he had libraries but built this to be his largest and on the same floor with his apartments.
In the South Wing, the stunning Royal Opera was the largest concert hall in Europe when it was first used in 1770 by Louis XV. The theater and ballroom were first used for the wedding of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Now, the museum continues the tradition and features performances and concerts open to the public.
In the North Wing, the Hercules Room was the last room Louis XIV was working on before his death. Formerly a chapel, the space was being converted following the completion of the grander chapel to which it is connected.
Louis XV finished the room, and it is an entrance to both the chapel and the Room of Abundance.
The last space Louis XIV saw to completion was this gothic chapel, which was dedicated to Saint Louis, of the family's ancestry and the kings' namesake.
The two-story chapel was used daily for the king's mass at 10 a.m.
Louis XIV enjoyed life away from the royal court, so he had the Grand Trianon constructed as a space with gardens to retreat. He also used it to entertain his mistress, who later lived here during the summer months.
This area on the Versailles' estate includes the first grand palace, a second smaller palace and gardens. Its name comes from the former village that occupied the land.
The Grand Trianon
The Grand Trianon is rather two palaces connected by a sheltered colonnade called the Peristyle.
Housing a North Wing, for State Apartments, and a South Wing, for residential use, the pink marble building was a favorite of Louis XIV.
The Round Room
This round room was the entrance to the first of Louis XIV's State Apartments, found in the North wing.
Louis XIV's suite of apartments in the Grand Trianon included this Mirror Room, which was used as a council chamber.
This room was originally used as a private chapel with an altar in the back and doors that could be closed to convert the room into a gathering space.
Louis XIV turned it into an antechamber during his reign.
Louis-Philippe's Family Room
In this palace that acted more like home, this was the family room to Louis-Philippe and was a relaxing place.
The tables were meant for card games.
Cards were also played in the Garden Room, which overlooks the Chestnut Grove and the Grand Canal.
This room had a number of uses during its different rulers. A bedroom, a "resting room" and an office.
The artwork adorning the green damask walls are paintings of Apollo.
Preferring to eat his meals privately, Louis XIV enjoyed his supper in this room, where there was also an elevated platform for musicians.
Louis XV made the space a private office, but Napoleon turned it back into a dining room for breakfast.
Originally the bedroom of Louis XIV and where Louis XVIII died, this royal bedroom became the Empress' bedroom during Napoleon's tenure.
This bedroom was originally used by Louis XV, who decorated the space with wood paneling.
But Napoleon used this as his bedroom once he took over the palace.
On the same estate as the Trianon, Louis XV added this smaller palace. He died here, but when his son and Marie-Antoinette became King and Queen, Louis XVI gave it to the queen.
Napoleon III's wife, Empress Eugenie, turned it into a museum dedicated to Marie-Antoinette.
As the original chapel had been removed, Louis-Philippe created this private chapel out of Louis XIV's former billiard room.
Hidden in the gardens of the Grand Trianon is a theater commissioned by Marie-Antoinette.
Renowned for loving the arts, she wanted a class theater for performances. This one seats 250 with an orchestra pit that holds 20 musicians.
The Queen's Hamlet
Marie-Antoinette felt that even the Petit Trianon was still not enough of an escape from the royal court.
So, the King presented her with a rustic hamlet, the Hameau de la Reine, built even farther away as a retreat just for her.
The Queen's Stage
The Flemish-designed buildings created a neighborhood grotto around a lake and gave the young Queen a place to escape the glamor and glitz of Versailles as she entertained her closest friends in private.
The entire space was designed to look like a stage.
Marie Antoinette's Maison
The largest building of the Hamlet was, of course, the Queen's House, called Maison de la Reine. Designed like a stage that connected Antoinette's bedroom, boudoir, dining room, salon and billiards room, its construction was meant to be temporary.
The house was restored in 2018, and it is filled with pieces from Empress Marie-Louise's estate, as Antoinette's furnishings were destroyed and scattered during the French Revolution.
The largest salon in Marie-Antoinette's house was airy and sunny with walls hung in yellow silk.
This first-floor room welcomed only the closest of her friends.
This intimate room featured wood floors, white marble and mirrors and was used by Marie-Antoinette for just a few guests.
Its name says it all.
The Guard House and Dovecote
The Dovecote was not only home to doves but hens, roosters and chicken that Marie-Antoinette chose herself.
Each building in the hamlet had a vegetable garden. The hamlet's agricultural buildings were actually used as such. Workers lived in these buildings, including the head gardener.
This honor went to Jean Bersy, who was also in charge of Marie-Antoinette's safety when she was in the hamlet.
Marlborough Tower and Working Dairy
The tower of the hamlet is a part of the fisherman's cottage and was used to store fishing equipment.
The dairy supplied the rich butter and creams Marie-Antoinette so famously loved to enjoy.
The windmill, however, wasn't actually a mill.
It was painted in trompe-l'oeil to look like a deteriorating French countryside building.
The Gardens of Versailles are considered to be the most beautiful in the world — so much so that other royal families have attempted to recreate their own versions of these grand gardens.
Designed by landscape architect Andre Le Notre, there are more than 350,000 trees throughout the 2,000 acres that feature a Grand Canal and an Orangerie.
The gardens are most famous for their fountains, of which there are 50 with various themes. Fifteen groves, like the one pictured here, were created as small gardens with fountains surrounded by walls of trees and greens to hide them away.
From outside the palace, follow the Water Walk that leads to the famous Neptune Fountain, constructed in 1682, and reach the Dragon Fountain, which tells the story of Apollo and has water jets that make this fountain the tallest of them all.
Long before refrigerators and freezers, to keep ice meant creating large buildings with thick stone walls.
The first ice stores at Versailles were added during Louis XIV's reign.
Château de Versailles
Visite virtuelle Château de Versailles.
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Les plus beaux espaces de Spectacles du Château de Versailles depuis chez vous !
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Le Château de Versailles propose une visite virtuelle gratuite
Par Manon Garrigues
De la Galerie des Glaces aux fontaines gracieuses en passant par le Hameau de la Reine, le Château de Versailles ouvrent ses portes le temps d'une visite virtuelle à vivre depuis chez soi.
22 000 oeuvres d'art à apprécier en ligne
A l'heure du confinement, les lieux culturels, portes closes, proposent une alternative bienvenue pour profiter de leurs trésors et collections : la visite virtuelle. Après le MET , le Louvre ou le Musée d'Orsay , c'est au tour du Château de Versailles d'ouvrir ses galeries le temps d'une balade interactive hors du temps. De la Galerie des Glaces aux appartements royaux en passant par le Hameau de la Reine , havre de paix façonné pour Marie-Antoinette , et les nombreuses fontaines des jardins, aucun recoin n'est oublié. Le plus ? L'accès gratuit aux expositions virtuelles en partenariat avec Google Arts & Culture , et aux riches collections du Château, plus de 22 000 oeuvres d'art du domaine, soigneusement répertoriées et commentées sur le site. L'occasion de percer les secrets du célèbre Sacre de Napoléon, du mobilier de Marie Leszczynska et autres souvenirs d'une époque fastueuse.
Visite virtuelle sur le site http://www.chateauversailles.fr/decouvrir
Retrouvez aussi sur Vogue.fr : 8 secrets sur le Château de Versailles Visite guidée du Hameau de la Reine Les 7 musées à visiter en ligne
Par Lolita Mang
Par Chloé Castanheira
Par Marie Léger
Par Mélanie Defouilloy
Par Marie Courtois
A Virtual Rendezvous with French Castles
Château de vaux-le-vicomte: an inspiration for versailles.
At approximately 50 kms from Paris, this castle (External link) with its lavish décor, unparalleled views and magnificent frescos, is considered to be a masterpiece of the French Baroque. In 1656, Nicolas Fouquet, King Louis XIV’s superintendent of the finances and the owner of the castle, bought together three notable artists to transform the structure. After the completion of the work, Fouquet invited the King and the royal entourage to an extravagant soirée. However, Fouquet’s intention to flatter the king backfired, as the King stormed out of the castle with a lot of resentment and jealousy. Three weeks later, Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for life on the charges of embezzlement of state money. The king later sent the team of the same artists to design and build a much larger project, the Palace of Versailles.
Château De Fontainebleau: A Temporary Residence for the Pope
With its angelic embellishments, lofty courtyards and towering apartments, the castle (External link) is a reflection of 800 years of successive French rulers. In 1804, Napoleon chose Fontainebleau for his meeting with Pope Pius VII, who had attended Napoleon’s coronation. He had opulently refurbished the castle and decorated a suite of rooms for the Pope. A few years later, the emperor planned a massive invasion of Russia, to mark his final conquest of Europe. During this time, from 1812 to 1814, Napoleon moved the Pope to Fontainebleau and encouraged him to make a public appearance, to assure the public of his support and good health, which the pontiff humbly declined. During his stay at Fontainebleau, the pope ate sparingly and led a monastic life.
Château De Chenonceau: A Tribute to the Power of Women
Built over the river Cher, with its five-arch bridge reflected in the languid waters, the Castle of Chenonceau (External link) is the most recognisable structure in France. It is often described as a ‘Ladies’ Château’, as throughout its history, many powerful women have influenced its destiny. One such among them was Diane de Poitier, mistress of King Henry II, who was offered the chateau as a gift and by 1555 became the legal owner. She built the arcaded bridge from the palace to the opposite side of the river and added extensive gardens. However, upon King Henry II’s death, his widow Catherine De Medici forced Diane de Poitier to exchange the castle for Château of Chaumont. As the regent of France, Catherine De Medici completed the gallery on the bridge and added a series of gardens, allowing her to hold lavish parties and entertain the French nobility.
Château De Villandry: A Renaissance Glory Restored
With tinkling fountains, cascading flowers and ornamental vines, the Castle of Villandry (External link) is home to a lacework of the finest gardens in France. However, back in 1754, when Marquis Michel-Ange of Castellane acquired the castle, he made significant changes to the interior of the castle, inevitably endangering its renaissance appeal. In the course of many decades, the castle changed hands and the estate underwent transformations. In 1906, Joachim Carvallo, a young Spanish doctor, and his wife Ann Coleman purchased the castle and put their energies and fortune to restore it to its former glory. They removed the walls and the windows added by the Marquis and redesigned the gardens back to the original French Renaissance.
Château de Chambord: A Hunting Lodge for the Kings
Nestled in the largest walled and enclosed park of Europe, lies a unique and singular castle (External link) which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance compositions. In 1515, inspired and enamoured by the marvels of Italian architecture, François I built a new hunting lodge in France. It is suggested that Leonardo Da Vinci influenced the design of the renowned double helix staircase and many other features of the castle. In spite of the elaborate plans, the king barely stayed here for seven weeks in his lifetime. The colossal rooms, open windows and high ceiling made heating impossible, consequently the castle was impractical to live in. Furthermore, the estate was not surrounded by a single village, thus hunting games was the only food source for the royal staff. Nevertheless, the successors of François I continued to use the château for hunting.
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