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A day at Versailles : illustrated guide to the palace, museum, park and the trianons... / G. Braun online

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18, rue Louis-Ie-Grand, 18


Vast numbers of visitors come lo Versailles to spend a
day in visiting the Palace, its halls and rooms, the Museum,
the Park, and the Trianons. It is advisable if possible to
divide the visit into two or three days, but it is possible in a
single day to see this fine collection, if no time be lost and the
visitor be well directed. Such is the object of the present
guide. In following exactly the routes we indicate, and in
examining those objects which are mentioned as worthy of
attention, and at the same time passing rapidly where we
recommend no stay to be made, the visitor will leave the
Palace having seen all its beauties : ceilings and decorations,
grand marble mosaics, sculptured and gilded wainscotting,
lintels, copper carvings, antique furniture, pictures, busts,
etc. That is to say the visitor will have hid under his eyes
the most beautiful specimens of the ivn tt and ivm tt ceo-

turies. The connoisseur, the casual visitor and the artist
will all find their tastes gratified, whether of pleasure or


A few historical notes wiH furnish all necessary information
upon what has been done in the galleries and halls, and
what purpose they served in times past, from what period
they date, their style, and the principal artists whose master-
pieces they are.

The engravings which accompany the text will assist the
visitor in retaining a souvenir of what he may have admired.
The plans will facilitate the inspection of the halls of the
Palace, the principal rooms of the Museum, the gardens and
statues of the Park.

For the visit to the Museum it has been thought unneces-
sary to give a complete list of the pictures, as each one bears
a label indicating the subject and name of the artist. Those
who may wish to possess full details will find them in the
catalogue of Eudore Soulie in three volumes and a supple-
ment, giving a description of the 5000 works of art contained
in the museum. One may however consult with greater
satisfaction the recent volume of Messrs Nolhac (curator of
the Museum) and A. Perate, entitled the National Museum
of Versailles, and containing 110 reproductions of the princi-
pal works.

The object of the present guide is to give the public the
satisfaction of seeing everything of interest, and carrying
away a complete idea of that most admirable work of art, the
Palace of Versailles.

The Villas of the Grand and Little Trianons complete Ver-


smiles. In order to have an eiact idea of the residence of
the former monarchs, the visitor should not omit to visit these
two Villas of which the Little Trianon displays a most charm-
ing example of the style of Louis XVI.

L. B.


Versailles can be reached in about 35 minutes by raihvnv
brin<; ">'J trains a day each way between the Saint-Lazare .
ami -~iO trains by Invalides Station Paris and Versailles, 29 ,
fronfilie Montparnasse Station. The fares are 1 fr. G5 first class,
1 fr. 15 second class, single journey, by Saint-Lazare Station, and
1 fr. 50 and 90 centimes by Montparnasse and Invalides -stations.

The most enjoyable way, however, is by the four-in-hand carriages
of Messrs Cook, which leave their Office place de 1'Opera in front of
the Grand Opera House every day. mreopt Monday. The itinerary covered
by these carriage drives is as follows, and-Uie fare 8 shillings.


Church of St. Augustin, Pare Monccau, Arc de Triomphe, Bois de
Boulogne, Lakes, Grand Cascade. Racecourse of l-ongchamps, Citadel
of Mont Valerien, Town and Park of St. Cloud, Montretont-Buzenval.
Forest of Ville-d'Avray, Avenue dePicardie, Versailles, Grand Trianon,
Private Apartments of the Empress Josephine, Napoleon I., etc., and
State Carriages ^time for luncheon). Palace, Museum and Park
of Versailles, Avenue de Paris, Viroflay, Chaville, Sevres, Porcelain
Manufactory, Billancourt, Fortifications of Paris, Viaduct of Auleuil,
Palace and Park of the Trocadero, Embankment of the Seine, Court
<a Reine.

Cook's Four-in-Hand Excursions start at ten o'clock precisely, re-
turning at half past five, in time for table d'hote dinner. Tici>eU
thould b secured on the previou* dav

PP ' n





The Palace of Versailles is one of the most perfect building?
in Krance from an artistic point of view, and certainly the
most instructive for visitors. It was built in its original form
under Louis XIII, enlarged by Louis XIV to its present immense
size, and inhabited by the French kings up to the Revolution.
It has since been converted into a museum and, having con-
ti niicd to play a part in great national events, presents to the
public a collection of the most interesting souvenirs of

The history of the Palace is markedly shown in its con-
struction. Standing in the entrance court, on the spot where
the modern statue of Louis XIV is placed, and where formerly
stood the entrance of the railing forming the royal court
between the two wings of the Palace, we notice buildings of
different periods.


A portion of the brick and stone constructions growing
narrower towards the elegant marble coiirt, under the windows
of Louis XIV room, dates from Louis XIII.

Louis XIII was in reality the true founder of Versailles and
(his architect was probably Le Ro\) built there in 16:24
a hunting box of which something is preserved amidst the
gorgeous buildings of Louis XIV.

This little box of Louis XIII was little to speak of. It formed
only the three sides of the narrow called cuur de marbre
(marble court), the pavement of which as well as the central
farade and the decoration of the roof date from Louis XIV.

All the portions of the Chateau, of the court and the
forecourt, where again brick predominates, belong to the first
enlargements of the Chateau by Louis XIV, who firstly adopted
the hunting box of his father as a rendez-vous of pleasure and
gave there a series of court festivities still celebrated. The
wings acquired the name ofAiles des Ministres in 1G2, at the
time of the installation of the offices of the government, when
the Grand King settled at Versailles and established there the
seat of Royalty.

The work of Louis XIV is very noticeable on the side of the
Palace towards the gardens. But on the entrance side our
attention is arrested by a building of Louis XV's time, a
massive heavy-looking wing, called after its designer " the
Gabriel wing ". It was built in the year 1772, and formed
part of a plan for the entire remodelling of the Palace. In
accordance with the taste of the hour, the idea was to rebuild
ihe entire centre in Greco-Roman style.

This grievous work of vandalism was interrupted by tho
financial distress of the country under Louis XVI. Napoleon /
intended to resume it, and ordered Dufour to begin the
companion wing to that of Louis XV of which the Pavilion
only was completed in 1820. The Gabriel wing and the Du-
four Pavilion occupy the place of colonnaded pavilirns of lh


time of Louis XIV which we see in old pictures and against
which abutted the railing enclosing the Royal Court.

The endless facade on the gardens gives the most jnM idea
of the extent of the Chateau and the immense woik o(
Louis XIV, the size of which it is impossible to take in at a
iin-.'le glace from the parterre.

The main body of the Chateau completely covering the sm:t!l
square original building is the work of the architect Le Van:
tlic largo wings that of Mansart. But the front facade of ihe
Chateau underwent a considerable change in 1(>79. The cen-
tral portion of the first storey of Le Vau's building consisted of
a large terrace at the two extremities of which vas a large

This change dates from 1679. The main building of the
Palace is older by ten years, and the great wings on the
souih and north were begun, one in 1679, and the oilier
in 1084. The Chapel, surmounted by its gilded lantern, was
built between 1699 and 1710. All then that we see of the
I'alare from the grounds dates from the reign of Louis XIV.
The visitor will be interested in the old pictures in room 54
of the Museum, showing the different enlargements of the

The different periods of architecture are as clearly shown
in the interior as on the exterior. Nowhere may the three
lireat decorative styles of the xvn u and xvm lk centuries be
studied from more perfect or more correctly dated models.

In spite of restorations and mutilations, the ancient works
of art collected at Versailles are, as a whole, second to none
in France. It is indeed the Museum of National Decorative.
Art, which would be easy to complete by the addition of
some fine pieces of furniture, so as to recall what was for-
merly there.

The day of the Revolution, October 6 U 1789, recalled
Louis XVI to Paris, and withdrew the seat of government from

\ersai!Ies. T!ie Revolution did not harm the Palace, but tb.8
Convention ordered all the furniture to be sold, thus scattering
treasures which are now almost priceless. The Directoire
established there an ephemeral Museum of the Ffench school.
Napoleon and afterwards Louis XVIII intended living at the

The final destiny of the Palace was fixed by Louis-Philippe,
who appropriated to it enormous sums from the civil list, and
made a great Museum, consecrated " to All the Glories of
France ". This Museum, inaugurated in 1857, has in reality
become a museum of French history under all its aspects, and iis
collections are the most important and numerous of those of
the same kind in Europe.

We cannot help regretting that the creation of new galle-
ries has led to the destruction of several fine suites of rooms,
and the decorative treasures they contained. But it has pro-
bably preserved the Palace to the Nation, by giving it a worthy
use; and the number of works of art both paintings and
statuary which is collected there, is precious to history and

A general rearrangement of the Museum, particularly in
the portrait galleries, has recently been undertaken, and has
already given satisfaction to the public. The resources placed
in the hands of the administration are unfortunately insuffi-
cient. The Museum only contains works of an historic cha-
racter. Everywhere accurate descriptions assist the observa
tions of visitors.

Fresh acquisitions, some presented, others purchased by the
Stale of the contemporaneous portion are constantly flowing
in to fill up existing deficiencies.

The National Museum only occupies the centre of the Palace
and a portion of the wings. The rest has been under the
jurisdiction of Parliament since the National Assembly placed
the seat of Government si Vers&ille* in 1X71. The hall lo

if~ '


:. .-.'..";, i


which the Museum was then confined (formerly ttie opera
house) became in 1875 the Senate house, and there was built
at this time a hall for the Chamber of Deputies, to-day in use as
the Hall of Congress.

Briefly the chief historical events of which the Palace ol
Versailles has been the scene are as lollows :

Louis XIV (the Grand Monarch) died here 1715.

Louis XV died 1775. Here also Damiens tried to assassinate

Louis XVI, who was guillotined Jan. 21, 1795, was forciblj
carried away from the Palace of Versailles in 1789.

In 17'Jo the Palace was converted into a manufactory of
arms, and in 1815 it was pillaged by the Prussians.

After the fall of Napoleon it was occupied in succession by
Louis XVIII, Charles X and Louis-Philippe.

In 1855 Queen Victoria was received here by Napoleon III.

In 1871 the Palace was occupied by the Gercian forces and
on the '18 U of January King William of Prussia was here
proclaimed Emperor of Germany.

After the departure of the German troops it became the
seat of the Government of France under the presidency of
M. Thiers and continued so until the year 1880, when tb
Government was removed to Paris.




The Palace is built on a hill, and is faced by a large square,
known as the " Place d'armes " or " Parade ", which unites
three large avenues in the centre the Paris avenue, to the
right that of Saint-Cloud, . and to the left that of Sceaux.
The whole has a majestic appearance which prepares us for
the contemplation of the magnificent residence of Louis XIV.

The avenue of Saint-Cloud is separated from that of Paris by
the " Great Slables ", wfiere the king's horses used to be kepi,
and the avenues of Parb and Sceaux are separated by a
similar structure, the " Little Stables ", where the carriages
were kept. To-day, one contains artillery workshops, and the
other Barracks of Engineers.

The two stables were designed by Mansart, and have contained as
many as 2500 horses.


The entrance-court, or avant-cour, is separated from the
Place d'armes by a long iron-railing with three gilded bays.
The centre one is surmonted by an escutcheon with the arms
of France, A master piece of iron-work.

This court lies between the two great buildings called

XI I', li I .1 it nl I'll F CHAPB I.

"w.ngs of the ministers", where the ministers of the old
monarchy lived, and where several ministries took refuge in
tin- Commune of 1871.

_JEhe sixteen marble statues in the court, which are 4 metres
(13 feet) high, were placed there by Louis-Philippe, at the
time of the conversion of the Palace into a museum. With
'.he exception of those of four marshals of the Empire, they

^ were executed in the time of Louis XVIII for the decoration

K of Ihe Bridge of Concord, Paris.

/ The equestrian statue of Louis XIV, executed in bronze by

N order of Louis-Philippe, marks the entrance to the Court
Royal, which was formerly separated from Ihe fore-court by
an iron-railing. The part between the buildings built nearest
together is called the marble court; its marble flags have
recently been restored.

We can enter the Chateau on the left by the grand staircase
known an The Queen s Stairs , which opens on the Court
Royal. But it is preferable to make our way at once to the
rigid, towards the little Chapel-Court, where we find the prin-
cipal entrance to the museum.


We notice the upper cornice of the Chapel, which is one ot
the most beautiful portions of the architecture of the Palace,
with its stone statues and windows ornamented \rith ele-
gant sculptures. The Chapel was built between 16D9 and
1710 by Mansart and his successor Robert de Cotte.

If we intend examining in detail the interior of the Chapel
we mutt speak to the officer at the entrance to the museum, but
we can study it ai leisure up the first floor, the doors being
always open.

The principal entrance to the museum is at the end of tiiti
Chapl Court, under the passage to the right.



If we are pressed for time, we must, on entering, turn to
Ihe right, past the large bas-relief (Passage of the Rhine by
Louis XIV) and enter the " African Rooms " by the door wito
the Stone Gallery (Smalah. etc., page 2o'). If we only wish to
see the slale-aparlments, we must ascend the staircase by
the side of the chapel-door, which leads to the upper vestibule
(page 50).

If we have plenty of time, or the chance of coming again, we
will enler by the door to the left of the bas-reliel, where the stall
of books and photographs stands. This brings us to the

These rooms contain pictures recalling the principal historic deeds
from the time of Clovis up to the Revolution. The visitor will liiid
the works of Juch modern a' lists as Paul Delaroche (Charlemagne
crossing the Alps), Ary Schefler (The death of Gaston de FOI.I/,
Schnetz, Lariviere, Cabanel, etc. Among the pictures of the time of
Louis XIV and Louis XV, are to be found the work> of Van der Meulen,
Testelin, the two Marlins, Panocel, etc. Each picture bears m
explanatory label.

Going out at Ihe bottom of the staircase built in 1851 and turning
to the right is the


This contains chiefly pieces of scuplture of the middle ages (casts
of the royal statues on the tombs of St. Denis, or marbles executed
after these statues). In the centre is the tomb of Ferdinand, King
of Aragon, and Isabella, Queen of Castile, a great cast taken from
the marble original at Granada.



Vestibule of the Chapel.

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Rooms containing
historic pictures from the time of Clovis to that
of Louis XVI.

13. Staircase of the North wing.

li. Opera-hall, now the ball for the meetings of the

15. Vestibule of the Opera-hall.

16. Stone Gallery.

17. 18, 19, 20, 21. Rooms of the Crusades.
22, 23, 24. Vestibules.

25. Northern Arcade.

86. Vestibule leading to the Ambassadors' Staircase,

built by Louis-Philippe.

87. Vestibule.

98, 29, 30. Rooms of plan-pictures.
SI. Vestibule.

32. Central Vestibule.

33. Gallery of recent acquisitions.

51, 36, 36. Views of Ancient Royal residences.
87. Priwrce Entrance.

18. Vestibule leading to the Marble or Queen's Stal

Slate entrance <o the Apartment*.



Southern Arcacj.

41. Vestibules.

43, 44, 45, 46 .New Galleries or the XVIII Centum.

48, 19. 50. Dauphin's Apartments (new ponraji

Lower Gallery.

53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58. Rooms of Portraits.
Room of the celebrated warriors.
68, 69, 70, 71, 72. Rooms of the campaigns of 1796

to 1805.

Vestibule of the Chamber.
75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80. Rooms of the campaign*

of 1805 to 1810.
Stone gallery.
Vestibule of the Princes' Stajrca.

A. Reservoirs.

C. Staircase leading to he Constantine rooms.

D. Sacristy.

E. Pavilion of Orleans (to the Chamber of

F. Pavilion of Provence.
L Clumber of Deputies.

- tfi

On the right is the entrance to the


The pictures in iliese rooms commemorate the history of the expe-
ditions in the East between the ll tk and 13 lk centuries, made Lj
Christian Europe for the deliverance of Jerusalem and the Holy Se-
pulchre. The ceilings, friezes and pillars bear armour belonging to
kings, princes and knights, who took part in the Crusades.

The doors of cedar-wood and the bronze mortar placed in the lar-
gest room come from the hospital of the Knights of Rhodes.


On leaving the rooms of the Crusades, the visitor should asrrnd
the staircase marked Africa, Crimea, Italy, and enter the large


On the end wall are three great pictures by Horace Vernet,
representing the capture of Gonstantine. The picture on the
left, the Assault, is probably the finest work. The other paint-
ings in the room are also by Horace Vernet. All the figures
of officers and soldiers are from portraits. We enter on the


The celebrated picture by H. Vernet (69 1/2 by nearly 16 ft)
represents the Taking of the Smalah from Abd-el-Kader by
the Duke d'iumale in 1845.


On the right is the Battle of Isly, gained by marshal Bngeaud
over the Moors in 1844 ; and opposite, the Siege of Rome and
episodes from Ihe Mexican war.

In a cabinet is a bas-relief byCarpeaux, Napoleon III receiv-
ing Abd-el-Kader, a,nd an English clock taken in 1830 from
the Dey of Algiers.

Re-crossing the Constantine Room we come to the


This contains complete illustrations of the expedition in
the Crimea, notably the fine painting .by Pils (Battle of Alrna)
and the three pictures by Yvon illustrating the Capture of the
Malakoft (1855). There are also watercolours on the Siege of
Sebastopol, and busts of generals who took part in the cam-

The Italian war (1859) is represented by two pictures by
Yvon : Magenta and Solferino.

From the Gonstantine Room visitors can enter the Stone
Gallery on the first floor, situated immediately above that on
the ground-floor, by two passages, each formed of two rooms
filled with interesting modern pictures. Either passage will

MODERN ROOMS (99 to 101).

In the rooms on the left the visitor will notice the Retreat
from Russia, the Battle of Inkermann, by Gustave Dore, the
Reception of Siamese Ambassadors at Fontainebleau, by Ge-
r6me, etc.

In the rooms on Ihe right : The Federation Fete in 17'JO,
by Couder, the Volunteers of 1792, by Vinchon, the Last Vic-
tims of the Terror, by Muller, the Meeting of Napoleon and
Czar Alexander, by Serangeli, etc.

After visiting this modern part of the Museum, visitors
pressed for time should turn to the left into the sculpture
gallery, and go direct to the Chapel Vestibule (page 30).


Others should turn to the right arriving at the grand staircase at
the extremity of the wing, and ascend to the second storey to see
Ihe important collection of historical portrailt exhibited in the

NORTH ATTIC (galleries 153-162).

Visitors should enter by the door near the windows. The first
room is reserved exclusively for the xvi" century, and containi
some valuable portraits on wood of princes, ladies and historical
persoiinajjes. The oldest work (xV century) represents Joan of Arc
iu arnwur, on the left of the Virgin, on whose right is St. Michael


the features are no longer discernible, but the heroine carries a
cloud of siinctity which bears witness to the veneration with which
the people of her time regarded the liberator of France.

Chronological order is maintained in the following rooms and the
gallery, which present most instructive illustrations of French his-
tory in the shape of portraits of famous characters. The series of
Louis XIV s time, thanks to Beaubrun, Lefevre, Bourdon, Mignard,
Le Brun, Nocret, Rigaud. are particularly rich in fine pictures.
These rooms are being re-arranged with a view to showing the
paintings to a better advantage.

The gallery is dedicated to the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI,
znd contains portraits by Rigaud, Largilliere, Vaiiloo,
Croiun, Mme Labille-Gu-vrd. Mine Vigte-Lebrun, etc


Ascending the stain^e, we re-enter lh

The first room is filled with souvenirs of
the reign of Louis-Philippe, the second and
third with those of the Restoration; the
others follow the course of French History
up to the time of the Egyptian Expedition.
The visitor will notice many military pic-

tures of the First Empire, which are all of
great historical interest.
Next comes the


The construction is of the same period
as the chapel (late Louis XIV). The king
usec. to enter the Tribune through this vestibule. The visitor
is now in a good position for inspecting the upper part of the
Chapel, ind the paintings of the voulted root.



fhese paintings represent : In the Centre, the Eternai
Father in all his Glory, by Coypel ; at the end, the Resurrec-
tion, by Delafosse ; above the King's Tribune, the Descent of
the Holy Spirit, by Jouvenet.

The high altar is surmounted by a Celestial Glory in gilded
bronze, by Van Cleve. The pillars and all surfaces are deco-
rated with magnificent bas-reliefs.

The visitor should notice the ilded sculptures of the door
leading to the Tribune, and the beautiful lock ol wrought

At the side is

This was tne great court ball-room of the xvm" century. It
only dates from the beginning of the reign of Louis XV. The
ceiling, one of IDP largest in existence (1>'J x 55 ft), repre-
sents the Apotheotu of Hercuie*.

Room of Her-

106. Room of


107. Room of Venus.

108. Room of Diana.

109. Room of Mars.

110. Room of Mer-


Room of Apollo.
Room of War.

Great Gallery, or Mirror-

Rouin of Peace.

Room of the Queen.

Great cabinetof the Queen.

The Queen's antichamber.
118. liouin of the Queen's Guards.
lift Queen's (or marble) Staircase.
1-JO. Room of the King's Guards.
141. King's Antichamh'T.

123. Room with oval-window (Ox-eye


124. Louis XIV's room.

125. Chamberof the King orCouncil.

126. Louis XV's room.
147. Clock room.

Ii8. Anlpcli:imt>er of the dogs.

129. Lou

130. Lou

131. Scr,

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