Archive for the ‘At Versailles’ Category

Versailles: The Dream of a King (France 2 version)

This film ran on the BBC a few days ago, and is available for streaming on the France 2 site (from France only, 1.99 euros.) You can also watch it from anywhere, and for free, at Dailymotion. The DVD is sold at under the original title Versailles, le reve d’un roi (careful with the […]

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The hidden face of Versailles, and the apartments of Mesdames

In Versailles sculptures and original plaster casts quietly decay, far from the public eye. Thanks to Didiier Rykner for rescuing these Ghosts of Versailles from oblivion in the Art Tribune. Yes, this is indeed Louis XVI’s face under the plastic wrap. If only a fraction of the money spent on the literally dazzling new gates had […]

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Marie Anne Victoire Belle

Marie-Anne-Victoire, the Infanta-Queen: Louis XV’s little fiancée

This marriage, like all royal unions of the time, was prompted by political and diplomatic concerns. Infanta Mariana Victoria, age three, was the daughter of King Philip V of Spain, himself grandson of Louis XIV, the Sun King. When negotiations began for her marriage to her eleven-year old cousin Louis XV, the groom was rumored […]

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Louis XIV equestrian statue Versailles

Louis XIV greets again visitors at Versailles

After indispensable restoration work, the statue returns to its original spot. This is a mature Louis XIV, at his most majestic. For more information, I refer you to this excellent article in the Art Tribune. The scaffolding will remain in place until the official inauguration on June 25. And while you are on the topic […]

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Madame Victoire Roslin

Madame Victoire and Lent

I told you we would return to the daughters of Louis XV before long.  So let’s go back once again to Madame Campan’s remembrances of Madame Victoire: Madame Victoire, kind, sweet-tempered and affable, lived with the most amiable simplicity within a society that cherished her; she was adored by her household. Without quitting Versailles, without […]

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Madame Louise Gobert

Madame Marie-Louise, daughter of Louis XV

If Marie-Louise, third of the children of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska, is mentioned here last, blame it on my earlier (and now reversed, thanks to a blog reader’s remarks) decision to study only those daughters who had reached adulthood. Marie-Louise, known simply as Madame Louise, or Madame Troisième (“Madame the Third”) was born in […]

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Madame Louise Nattier

Madame Louise, Venerable Mother Thérèse de Saint-Augustin, daughter of Louis XV

Born on July 15, 1737, Louise-Marie was the last of the children of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska. She was only eleven months old when, with her elder sisters Victoire, Sophie and Thérèse, she left Versailles for the faraway the Abbey of Fontevraud. That is to say she knew of no other world than the […]

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Fontevraud Alienor of Aquitaine

Madame Thérèse, daughter of Louis XV

At first I had planned to limit this series on the daughters of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska to those who had reached adulthood. Then a reader mentioned privately that she hoped I would include the little princesses who had died as children. Indeed in their own sad way they too illustrate life and death […]

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Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre, Duchesse d’Orléans: a revolutionary romance

For the last few days I had been pondering suitable Valentine’s Day posts, beyond the obvious hearts, poetry and roses. Romance, maybe? Suddenly came to mind the very unlikely story of Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre, born in 1753. Unlikely? Yes, periods of upheaval like the French Revolution often spawn extraordinary stories, and bring together […]

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Madame Sophie Nattier

Madame Sophie, daughter of Louis XV

Sophie Philippe Elisabeth Justine is the most elusive of the daughters of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska. Born in 1734, one year after Victoire, Sophie was shipped to the Abbey of Fontevraud with her and their two younger sisters, Thérése, two years old, and baby Louise, only eleven months old! Madame Sophie, even after her […]

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