The chateau of Versailles is believed to have been a dirty palace: a place where everyone tossed the contents of their chamber pots from the windows above.
Yet during the chateau’s construction, Louis XIV had given thought to commodities, and several public latrines were built as well as a very modern water system. So where did this bad reputation come from?
Versailles is a famous French palace – not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.
Especially under Louis XIV, the senior nobility were pressured to spend large amounts of time at Versailles, as a form of political control. Louis XIV evolved a rigid routine of court life as a performance, much of which took place in front of large groups of people, at some points in the day including tourists.
Building the château and maintaining the court there was phenomenally expensive, but did a good deal to establish the dominance of French style and taste in the whole of Europe, giving French luxury manufacturing advantages that long outlasted the fall of the Ancien Régime.
Louis XIV’s expansion of the building was begun around 1661, with Louis Le Vau as architect. It was not completed until about 1715, having been worked on by architects including François d’Orbay, Charles Le Brun (interiors especially), Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte.
André Le Nôtre began the gardens and structures in them. There were a range of satellite buildings around the grounds. While the main château building remains essentially intact, though without much of its contents, some of these other buildings have been rebuilt or removed.
- Release date2016
- Full runtime
- Director(s)Julia Bracher
- Production companyAB Productions