Daily Photos & Frugal Travel Tips

Archive for November, 2008

30 Nov

The Courtyards At Versailles

The Louis XV Wing And The Chapel


The Louis XV Wing And The Chapel


Ministers Wing Versailles


Ministers Wing Versailles 1


Ministers Wing Versailles


Dufour Pavillon Old Wing Versailles


Dufour Pavillon Old Wing


The Courtyards


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.

30 Nov

The State Apartment, Versailles

The State Apartment Versailles


The State Apartment Ceiling Versailles


The State Apartment Versailles 1


The State Apartment


The State Apartment, entered through the Hercules drawing room, was renovated between 1671 and 1681 by Lebrun. The King lived here until 1682 when the State Apartment became a suite of drawing rooms used for court ceremonies and entertainments. These festivities became known as “Appartement” evenings due to their setting, and were held by the King on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Although the ceiling decoration has remained untouched since its creation, the furniture and mural decorations have changed throughout the years. The silver furniture was melted down in 1689 and the furnishings sold and dispersed with during the Revolution (the throne also was destroyed). The paintings were transferred to the Louvre and are still included in that collection.

The crimson damask wall hangings which hung here from the middle of Louis XV’s reign to the end of Louis XVI’s have been recently reproduced, especially in the Mars, Mercury and Apollo drawing rooms. The paintings, busts, and the Savonnerie carpets (woven for the Grande Galerie in the Louvre) are examples of the luxury to be found in this suite and were models for all European Courts.

30 Nov

The Colonnade, Versailles

The Colonnade Versailles


The Colonnade


The Colonnade is a must see in the gardens of Versailles. Hardouin-Mansart and Le Notre collaborated to design the space in 1685. It is a circular peristyle of 32 Ionic order columns made of marble. They are coupled with Languedoc marble pilasters, support arches crowning each with a white marble cornice and 32 urns in line with the columns. The tympani are decorated with reliefs depicting cupids playing music (this grove was long used for concerts). Under each arch lies a wide basin equipped with a fountain.
The Rape Of Persephone sculpted by Girardon sits in the middle.

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