Tuesday, July 10, 2018

To the gardens!

When we left the galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors), the signs led us into a series of three rooms on the eastern side of the château's main wing. These were the official rooms of King Louis XIV. His office, where he met with ministers, his official bedroom (at the exact center of the château overlooking the Marble Courtyard) where the "waking up" and "going to bed" ceremonies took place, and a large antechamber, where people waited to view and participate in the morning and nighttime ceremonies. These rooms face east toward the rising sun. Immediately behind them, the galerie des Glaces faces west, toward the setting sun.

View from inside the Hall of Mirrors toward the west, the gardens, park, and the Grand Canal.

Next, after another antechamber and guard rooms, are the Queen's apartments that line the southern façade of the central wing of the château (the King's apartments line the northern façade). But they were undergoing renovation and we were directed instead through a series of small, empty rooms toward the galerie des Batailles (Hall of Battles), a grand hall that runs the length of the château's south wing, decorated with busts and large paintings of famous military victories. A grand stair led us back down to ground level and we exited out onto the southern parterre. It felt good be outdoors.

The heart of the château around the Marble Courtyard. The three arched windows are in the king's bedchamber. The two windows to the right are in his office, the two to the left are in the second antechamber, more formally called le salon de l'Œil de Bœuf.

I learned on this visit what is probably obvious to most others: the whole central body of the château, the ground floor and the two upper floors, was dedicated to the king and his family. Members of the royal court (numbered in the thousands) lived in the northern and southern wings and other nearby buildings. It must have been crowded for them. They probably longed for the much more spacious Louvre palace in central Paris.

2 comments:

  1. Love your descriptions, Walt!

    ReplyDelete
  2. evelyn, thanks! I'm trying not to be too nerdy. ;)

    ReplyDelete

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