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Versailles - Journey Through Time - Part VI



Believe it or not, we are still at Versailles - but don't worry, the P'Niche Time Travel Machine is juiced up (with champagne, obvi) after our time spent under the reigns of Louis XIII and his start to the palace (and surroundings) development. We've seen the massive undertakings of the first part of Louis XIV's reign, as well as his overseeing of the main construction of Versailles. We have also seen some smaller additions under Louis XV, not to mention the changes under Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and the onset of the French Revolution.


Let's continue our journey through Versailles and time...


image: https://en.chateauversailles.fr

We might imagine that the Palace was totaled during the Revolution, but that was (thankfully) not the case. Ever respectful of arts and culture, the Central Museum for the Arts opened its doors in August 1793 - comprised of the stunning amount of paintings and sculptures that previously belonged to the Crown.


Other objets d'art, which had decorated the State Apartments or that had been kept in the stores of the "Surintendance des Bâtiments" were transferred to the Musée du Louvre.


Any of the over 17,000 items not sent to the Tuileries with the fallen royals were sold off. Most were acquired by Parisian merchants and citoyens (citizens) of Paris.


image: https://www.instagram.com/rupert.dixon/

Cue Napoléon Bonaparte, who, served as Emperor of France (1804-1814).


He wished to refurbish and reestablish Versailles as the seat of power. Quite cognizant of "the look" of it all, he focused mainly on the Grand Trianon and his Map Room. P'Niche bets he managed to get a few of his emblematic Napoleonic Bees into his designs.


Le Petit Trianon was also looked after and freshened up. It was originally designated to Napoléon's favorite sister, Pauline Borghèse, before being offered to his new bride, Marie Louise of Austria.


image: https://en.chateauversailles.fr

"As the Palace Turns," so does the power. Upon the fall of Napoléon I's empire, Louis Stanislas Xavier (Count of Provence), backed by powerful allies, ascended to the royal throne - and the return of the Bourbons - as King Louis XVIII.


Louis XVIII didn't too much to or for Versailles, he just relished the return of the royals. What could go royally wrong?!


You guessed it, P'Nicher - Louis XVIII was forced to step down when Napoléon I returned back to power after the Hundred Days March (March-July 1815). Louis XVIII wisely never sought political power again.


That said, while Napoléon I was initially welcomed back with open arms by the French, allied forces - now joined by the powerful English (gulp) - gave his troops a smack down of a defeat. We've arrived at June 22, 1815 and Napoléon I is forced into abdication / exile - again.


Don't worry P'Nicher, there is more to this story and we will tell it - do subscribe to join us back in the Parisian Niche for the history!


image: https://en.chateauversailles.fr

While a period of constitutional monarchy under Charles X (1824 - 1830) was seen, it was under Louis-Philippe, "King of the French," where Versailles began to regain some of her sparkle.


Fascinated by history, in 1833, Louis-Philippe created a museum to be "dedicated to all the glories of France" (from the middles ages to the start of the July Monarchy) in an attempt to bind all of the citizens of France together.


image: https://en.chateauversailles.fr

When Napoléon III took over, he sought to use Versailles as more of an upscale venue for his many lavish celebrations. He even hosted Queen Victoria in 1855 for a decidedly decadent reception.


His views on the Grand and Petit Trianons were to convert them to museums - the latter being dedicated to the memory of Queen Marie Antoinette, opening with a grand exhibition in 1867.


image: en.wikipedia.org

From a military point of view, Versailles was quite at the forefront. On January 18, 1871, the proclamation declaring the Empire of Germany was signed in the Hall of Mirrors, in a blowing defeat to the French.


Between 1873 and 1954, fifteen French presidential elections were voted on by Parliament within the hallowed walls of Versailles.


image: britannica.com/event/Treaty-of-Versailles-1919

Perhaps France was still feeling the sting of that prior defeat, and we should note that the Treaty of Versailles (ending World War I / The Great War) was also signed in the Hall of Mirror of Versailles on June 28, 1919 - in a decisive victory over the Central Powers. Where power was once taken, so was it restored to France and her allies.


Can you imagine being one of this crowd, craning your neck in the Hall of Mirrors, during this historical moment of moments?!


image: https://en.chateauversailles.fr/

At this stage in time, Versailles had seen a lot and she was starting to feel (and look) her age. Time for a royal nip / tuck...


We are in 1924. Cue American billionaire (and avid historian) John D Rockefeller. Recalling the vast contributions of France to our American Revolution (merci encore, bestie!) he took to the creation of a custom philanthropy and patronage to bring Versailles back to her former glory.


Rock on, Rockefeller!


image: https://frenchamericancultural.org

Just ahead, on June 01, 1961, President John F Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy had the honor of being welcomed to Versailles by President Charles de Gaulle for a diplomatic visit and gorgeous state dinner - highlighting the many glories of French history.


This was the first official visit by an American president since 1919, with Woodrow Wilson's visit. It also prompted a renovation of the Grand Trianon for future diplomatic visits.


https://www.vogue.com

Now, get ready for another battle. Don't worry - it's not what you think!


The "Battle of Versailles" Fashion Show was held at Versailles on November 28, 1973, as an absolutely over the top fundraiser to generate additional cash to further Versailles renovations.


While French fashion designers were highlighted, with the stunning Josephine Baker opening the show, it was American designer Halston who stole the day.


Much more on the Battle of Versailles, soon, P'Nicher...


image: en.wikipedia.com

Moving forward in time by about a decade, we arrive at June 04 - 07, 1982.


Versailles played host to the G7 Summit. On June 4th, President Mitterrand welcomed the various heads of state to the Grand Trianon, followed by meetings in the Coronation Chamber on June 5th. A luncheon in the Peace Room concluded the sessions on June 6th.


image: http://www.versailles3d.com/en/over-the-centuries/xxe/1999.html

Unfortunately, on December 25/26, 1999, Versailles suffered a severe storm, where wind gusts of up to 210km per hour blew off some rooftops and busted some windows. In addition, the storm absolutely ravaged the orangerie of Versailles, damaging over 10,000 of the rare and precious 2000,000 trees of the gardens.


Seeing the gilded lining, the French used this opportunity to restore the gardens according to Le Nôtre's original plans.


image: http://bienvenue.chateauversailles.fr/fr/vue-generale/bienvenue-a-versailles/35_entree-a-entree-pour-les-visiteurs-individuels

Of course, additional renovations have taken place since that major storm, landing us at present day Versailles, where the Dufour Pavilion (with work overseen by Dominique Perrault and completed in 2016) now serves as the main entrance to the Palace.


Where does that leave us, P'Nichers? Are you wanting more?



Of course - and me too! Trust me, in an effort to maintain "quick-ish reads," the stories we have shared are only the very beginning of the splendours of Versailles - things that everyone visiting Paris and France may wish to experience for themselves. Very soon, we will detail the easiest ways to get to enjoy Versailles to enjoy these splendors. AND THE BALL! (In the background, air horn sounds). We truly cannot wait to share...


What do you think, P'Nicher? We hope you enjoyed the various stops at Versailles in the P'Niche Time Machine and "As the Palace Turns..." bringing us to the present time. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below et à bientôt!


image: https://www.afar.com
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6 Comments


georgettel1
Jun 15, 2023

Not only are the pics magnifique but the narrative is first class. So interesting.

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chrissy
Jun 28, 2023
Replying to

thank you so much! :)

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saundra2851
Jun 15, 2023

I Love these Versailles Time Machine excursions! 😍

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chrissy
Jun 28, 2023
Replying to

I am so pleased yo are enjoying, it is SUCH fun to research!

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Debra Borchert
Debra Borchert
Jun 14, 2023

Thank you for a trip in your Versailles Time Machine, and the fabulous images. Merci!

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chrissy
Jun 28, 2023
Replying to

Thank you and I am delighted you enjoyed!!😍

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