Sunday Mass at the Chapel Royal in Versailles

Versailles Chapel Royal

Versailles Chapel Royal

The Chapel Royal at Versailles a wonder, one of the best examples of baroque architecture in France.

In Mistress of the Revolution, my heroine, Gabrielle de Montserrat, is presented at Court at the age of seventeen, and she attends Sunday Mass in the Palace of Versailles with her elderly cousin and friend the Duchess d’Arpajon. Here is an excerpt of the novel.

The King appeared before one o’clock to lead the Queen to the Royal Chapel. The Duchess and I joined the ladies who glided behind in rows of four. We were ever mindful of the others’ trains and hoped that no one would step on ours. The King and Queen would pause on their way to say a few words to the most favoured courtiers. The Duchess always insisted that I walk at the outside of our row of ladies. Thus some of the gentlemen waiting for the royal cortege would step forward and whisper compliments to my ear.

Once in the Salon of Hercules, which led to the entrance to the Royal Chapel, the Duchess would beckon to her lackey. The man was posted there among a crowd of his fellow servants, all carrying the gold-tasseled red velvet bags that held their mistresses’ prayer books.

The King and Queen entered the Chapel. It was the cue for the ladies to pick up their trains and rush forward, for any woman who had been presented could hear Mass from the upper galleries on either side of the royal family. There was no more graceful gliding. The ladies jostled, with the help of their lackeys, to secure the seats closest to the King and Queen. Sometimes I pictured my friend and myself trampled under the feet of that elegant mob. The melee subsided at last.

We could then sit, arrange our paniers, put away our trains and retrieve our prayer books from the depths of the red velvet bag. By that time Mass was already well under way. The Duchess and I found those devotions devoid of spiritual comfort. We preferred to attend Sunday High Mass in Saint Paul-Saint Louis, her parish church in the Marais district.

My source here? Mostly the excellent Memoirs of the Marquise de La Tour du Pin, who was a lady-in-waiting to Marie-Antoinette, and would have been Gabrielle’s age.

This photo above is taken from the place where the royal family would sit. Picture Gabrielle, the Duchess and the other ladies in Court dresses jostling for position in the galleries on each side…

For a virtual visit of the Chapel Royal, follow this link.


Versailles Chapel ceiling Fall of the Rebel Angels

Versailles Chapel ceiling Fall of the Rebel Angels

_________________________________________

All posts in the Footsteps of Gabrielle series:

Return to Fontfreyde

Cottage life

Arriving in Paris

Fashions in Paris before the Revolution

Dressing for Court

Discovering Versailles

The presentation to Marie-Antoinette in the Salon of the Nobles

The Queen’s Bedchamber

The sweetness of living

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24 Comments to “Sunday Mass at the Chapel Royal in Versailles”

  1. sylvie merot says:

    I would like to be at the sunday mass in the royal chapel on june 19th.Were i can book it in advance

  2. Karey Sport says:

    I found this info is very helpful. Thank you for sharing. Do you care whether I mention a few sentences from this post in our blog if it’s disclosed you as being the writer and links back to your site? Thanks!

  3. Marquise Louise Josephine says:

    beautiful story. I feel like I was in Versailles, was a lady-in-waiting like
    Marquise Louise Josephine

  4. Gorgeous picture – I could stay there all day!

  5. Catherine Delors says:

    Ma Chere Penny,

    Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet are just as she left them in 1789. They were just restored, and should you visit France, you can see them as they were in the time of Marie-Antoinette.

  6. penny klein says:

    Ma chere catherine,
    before i forget, whatever happened to Marie Antoinette’s Peit Tianon? or the model village?
    i can’t say a thing that has not already been said. i would love to visit France and see it as described in your book/s. i do have bookshelf space for them.
    Merci Beaucoup(sp?)for the feature

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  8. In the footsteps of Gabrielle: the sweetness of living

    Over twenty years later, Gabrielle reminisces about the lifestyle enjoyed by the nobility in the years that immediately preceded the Revolution:The Duchess took me to parties given by her friends. Some were regular dinners, some informal suppers after the play, the ballet or the opera, and others musical gatherings, where both professional and amateur performers displayed their talents. I was often pressed to sing, which, out of shyness, I avoided as much as I could without appearing affected or ungracious. Impromptu dances often concluded the pleasures of the evening. The Bishop of Autun, Monsieur de Talleyrand, who has since achieved …

  9. Percocet. says:

    Percocet aspirin.

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  10. Catherine Delors says:

    Thank you so much, Lenka!
    More pictures are coming your way this week and next. The ebook is on track, despite pesky formatting problems with the conversion to PDF.
    And I hope to hear back from you once you finish the novel.

  11. Lenka says:

    I am about 1/4 of the way through your book, and I love it! The pictures that you have posted are gorgeous! Thank you for having the guts and the determination to write this book. I love that you said “writers don’t write outlines, they write books”!
    X :Lenka

  12. In the footsteps of Gabrielle: the presentation to Marie-Antoinette in the Salon of the Nobles

    Since my first In the Footsteps of Gabrielle post seems to be a hit, I decided to continue in this line, with the idea of eventually putting together a free companion book to Mistress of the Revolution as a gift for the readers of this blog. So this is the second entry in the series. It deals with Gabrielle’s “presentation” at Court. What were the requirements to be presented at Court? You had to (1) prove that your family had been noble since at least the year 1400, and (2) find another lady, herself presented, who would introduce you to …

  13. In the footsteps of Gabrielle: the presentation to Marie-Antoinette in the Salon of the Nobles

    Since my first In the Footsteps of Gabrielle post seems to be a hit with the readers of this blog, I decided to continue in this line, with the idea of eventually putting together a free companion book to Mistress of the Revolution as a gift for the readers of this blog. So this is the second entry in the series. It deals with Gabrielle’s “presentation” at Court. What were the requirements to be presented at Court? You had to (1) prove that your family had been noble since at least the year 1400, and (2) find another lady, herself …

  14. In the footsteps of Gabrielle: the presentation to Marie-Antoinette in the Salon of the Nobles

    Since my first In the Footsteps of Gabrielle post seems to be a hit with the readers of this blog, I decided to continue in this line, with the idea of eventually putting together a free companion book to Mistress of the Revolution as a gift for the readers of this blog. So this is the second entry in the series. It deals with Gabrielle’s “presentation” at Court. What were the requirements to be presented at Court? You had to (1) prove that your family had been noble since at least the year 1400, and (2) find another lady, herself …

  15. In the footsteps of Gabrielle: the presentation to Marie-Antoinette in the Salon of the Nobles

    Since my first In the Footsteps of Gabrielle post seems to be a hit with the readers of this blog, I decided to continue in this line, with the idea of eventually putting together a free companion book to Mistress of the Revolution as a gift for the readers of this blog. So this is the second entry in the series. It deals with Gabrielle’s “presentation” at Court. What were the requirements to be presented at Court? You had to (1) prove that your family had been noble since at least the year 1400, and (2) find another lady, herself …

  16. In the footsteps of Gabrielle: the presentation to Marie-Antoinette in the Salon of the Nobles

    Since my first In the Footsteps of Gabrielle post seems to be a hit with the readers of this blog, I decided to continue in this line, with the idea of eventually putting together a free companion book to Mistress of the Revolution as a gift for the readers of this blog. So this is the second entry in the series. It deals with Gabrielle’s “presentation” at Court. What were the requirements to be presented at Court? You had to (1) prove that your family had been noble since at least the year 1400, and (2) find another lady, herself …

  17. CATHERINE DELORS says:

    Thank you, Elena!

  18. Delightful post. Beautiful picture!

  19. CATHERINE DELORS says:

    Thank you, Julianne. Since readers like these, I will definitely do more of these. They are fun for me too!

    And yes, you are right, we are on the upper gallery, right where the royal family would have been sitting, and looking down at the altar on a lower floor. The royal family, following by the jostling ladies, entered from the Salon of Hercules, on the same level as the gallery. The male courtiers entered through the lower level, as they were not allowed in the galleries.

  20. Great idea for a feature, Catherine!

    I’m trying to get my bearings in the photo. Are we standing on an upper gallery looking down at the altar below? I’ve been to Versailles, but unfortunately it was long ago and I don’t remember this particular chapel.

  21. CATHERINE DELORS says:

    Thank you, Daphne! I hope you and your daughter can visit France with some day. Versailles itself is a full-day visit. Let me know if you do come.

    I am delighted to see that readers like you enjoy this post. It was a test run, it worked, so now In the footsteps of Gabrielle will become a regular feature.

  22. Daphne says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! It is so beautiful that it doesn’t seem like it could be real. I would really love to see it someday. My 16 year old daughter wants to go to France – I keep telling maybe…

  23. CATHERINE DELORS says:

    You won’t be disappointed, Michelle. There’s everything in those Memoirs: aristocratic life before the Revolution (unlike Gabrielle, she was from a very wealthy family), the Court at Versailles, the Terror, then the Napoleonic era. There’s even an American episode thrown in for good measure. All very well written by a sympathetic woman who is also an acute observer of extraordinary times.

  24. Wow, breathtaking photos. I remember that scene in your book and thinking of this chapel. My husband and I have visited Versailles several times, and the Royal Chapel has always been my favorite room.

    I’m going to need to read Marquise de La Tour du Pin’s memoirs. They sound fascinating.

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