The Louis XV Wing And The Chapel
Ministers Wing Versailles
Dufour Pavillon Old Wing
After walking past the Grande and Petite Ecuries (Stables) and crossing the Place d’Armes (Royal Parade Ground) visitors to Versailles enter the Great Courtyard through a gateway crowned with the arms of France. To the right and left are two long buildings with double-sloped or mansard roves. These are the Ministers’ Wings. Versailles was the capital of France from 1682 to 1789. Under the Ancien Regime, the Captain of the French Guards had his quarters in the far pavilions of the wings on the left. The Commander of the Swiss Guards’ quarters were to the right.
The equestrian statue of Louis XIV (1837) marks the spot where, up until the Revolution, a gate separated the two courtyards. The Royal Courtyard is flanked on the right by a stone wing, contrasting with the pink and white of the other buildings. Built by Gabriel at the end of the 18th century, it is the only part of the transformation work planned at the end of Louis XV’s reign and under Louis XIV to have been completed. The Dufour Pavilion, opposite it, was built in the 19th century for symmetry, while maintaining the old wing, a remainder of the buildings which ran along the Royal Courtyard from 1662 to 1771, housing some of the King’s councils as well as the palace’s government.
Through the gilt railings further on, wings open onto the Queen’s Staircase and the vestibule of the former Ambassador’s Staircase. The rich architecture of the busts on the consoles heralds the decor of the buildings surrounding the Marble Courtyard.