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Best Kept Secrets of Versailles

Get an unprecedented look inside Frances remarkable royal chateau

 Best Kept Secrets of Versailles

COUNCIL CHAMBER

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY CHRISTOPHE FOUIN

COUNCIL CHAMBERThe most important decisions for the nation between 1682 and 1789 were made from the king’s residence in the Council Chamber. Only the king sat in the velvet armchair while the other council members sat on folding stools. During these discussions, an usher stood watch outside the doors to stop curious eavesdroppers

HALL OF MIRRORS

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THOMAS GARNIER

HALL OF MIRRORSThe Hall of Mirrors—previously known as the Grand Gallery—was one of the most infamous rooms in the royal château. It was used by courtiers as a passageway and meeting place, while the king walked the 240-foot long gallery every day to reach the Chapel

HERCULES SALON The largest of all salons in the palace

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY CHRISTOPHE FOUIN

HERCULES SALONThe largest of all salons in the palace, the Hercules Salon paneled in red and green marble hosted various balls and banquets, such as one in honor of Louis XV’s eldest daughter. Because of the massive crowds and thousands of candles filling the room that night, the windows had to be broken to accommodate the extra heat

LATONA FOUNTAIN

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THOMAS GARNIER

LATONA FOUNTAINThe Latona Fountain went through multiple stages over more than 20 years before finally becoming a fountain dedicated to Apollo’s mother. All the other fountains in the property rely on Latona for their water supply

MERCURY SALON

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY CHISTOPHE FOUIN

MERCURY SALONThe eye-popping Mercury Salon covered in crimson damask was originally the state bedroom of the Grand Apartment before the bed was replaced by various gaming tables. One of the rare instances the salon reverted back to its original use was when Louis XIV’s body was on display for the public to pay their respects

PALACE OF VERSAILLES

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THOMAS GARNIER

PALACE OF VERSAILLESLouis XIV, also known as the Sun King due to his emblem of Apollo, built the luxurious property along an east-west axis to follow the rising sun

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THOMAS GARNIER

ROYAL OPERA HOUSEAlthough the Royal Opera House took 20 years to plan, it was built in less than two years as pressure mounted to complete it before the wedding between the Dauphin Louis and Marie Antoinette. The lavish hall was used only 40 or so times before the Revolution, partly because of the high usage costs—it took 3,000 candles to light the auditorium for a night

THE ORANGERY Thousands of orange

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THOMAS GARNIER

THE ORANGERYThousands of orange, lemon, and pomegranate trees at Versailles—some more than 200 years old—are sheltered in the Orangery during the winter and arranged in geometric patterns in the parterre, or ornamental garden, during summer. Courtiers would often give Louis XIV their orange trees as a show of good manners

THE ORANGERY

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY CHRISTIAN MILET

THE ORANGERYMore than 492 feet long and 42 feet high, the expansive Orangery is filled with orange trees from France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, and watched over by a statue of Louis XIV. According to Saint-Simon, orange blossom was the Sun King’s favorite scent

References : Nationalgeographic

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