Archive for the ‘At Versailles’ Category


A virtual visit of the Chapel Royal at Versailles

I was amazed by the quality of the images on the official Versailles site, in particular the gorgeous paintings of the ceiling. You cannot see the Chapel any better, even if you visit Versailles, Most visitors are only admitted to the upper level, where the royal family heard Mass from a central tribune (whence, in […]

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Marie-Antoinette and lilac

One of the joys of the month of May is the sight and fragrance of lilac blossoms. Lilacs adorned the gardens of Versailles and Trianon. They had been great favorites with Louis XIV, and Marie-Antoinette enjoyed them no less in her private domain of Trianon. She liked them so much that, when it came to […]

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Versailles paintings blue damask

A virtual day in Versailles

Karin, the Alien Parisienne, has a lavishly illustrated post about her visit to Versailles. Check out the pictures, they will transport you there. Selfishly I picked this one: see, a blue damask background, as on this blog and my website… Ah!

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18th century fashion doll

An 18th century fashion ambassadress

This may look like the other costumes displayed at this year’s Court Pomp and Ceremony exhibition at Versailles. But this picture is deceptive: this is in fact but a half-size model of a French court gown. Ordinary fine ladies, unlike the royal family of Sweden, could not rely on their own ambassadors to keep informed […]

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18th century male court costume

18th century court costume: the male side

Well, my post on 18th century court costume was one of my most successful, and I could not help noticing that it attracted comments from gentlemen readers. Yet it only featured one set of male clothes, the astonishing wedding suit of the Crown Prince of Sweden, future King Gustaf III. So the idea came naturally […]

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Louis XIV Bernini

Louis XIV: the man and the King

This is the theme of a new exhibition at Versailles opening on October 20. Personal tastes and public image of an extraordinary character. This should one of the great shows this fall in and around Paris. Stay tuned…

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Madame de Maintenon

A new biography of Madame de Maintenon, by Veronica Buckley

New in the United States, that is, because it was published last year in the UK. I saw this review in the New York Times. What the NYT reviewer does not mention is that Ms. Buckley’s book had created quite a stir, in that it cited as a prominent source the Secret Diary of Louis […]

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18th century court gown

18th century court costume and Marie-Antoinette

I saw the Court Pomp and Royal Ceremony exhibition at Versailles on its closing day last June and would have hated to miss it. My expectations were very high, and yet I could not help being somewhat disappointed, not by the quality of the objects on display, which were magnificent, but by their scarcity. I […]

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Tsarina Maria Feodorvona Maria Dorothea of Wurtemberg

An imperial visit at Versailles

In the 18th century international travel was far more expensive, dangerous and difficult than we can imagine today, and of course much slower. A princess who married into a foreign court might never see her family again. State visits by foreign monarchs were exceptional affairs. The etiquette of Versailles, while specific on the reception of […]

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Marie Therese of Spain Queen of France

Versailles: The Dream of a King (BBC version)

Here is a link to this program (available only from the UK.) I just watched it and found it very different from the French original. First the emphasis here is not on the palace itself, but on the character of Louis XIV. Also the dramatization is constantly interrupted by various popular British historians. The result […]

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