Exhibition: Le Grand Trianon from Louis XIV to Charles de Gaulle

Published on August 05, 2015
  • An overview of the Cotelle gallery

    An overview of the Cotelle gallery

    © EPV Jean-Marc Manaï

  • The French gardens of the Grand Trianon

    The French gardens of the Grand Trianon

    © Julien Dusart

  • The peristyle of the Grand Trianon

    The peristyle of the Grand Trianon

    © EPV Jean-Marc Manaï

  • The Water Buffet outside the Grand Trianon

    The Water Buffet outside the Grand Trianon

    © EPV Jean-Marc Manaï

Exhibition: Le Grand Trianon from Louis XIV to Charles de Gaulle Place d'Armes 78000 Versailles fr

To celebrate the restoration work of the Grand Trianon which began in January 2015, an exhibition has been created, tracing the history of this castle from its construction to the sixties. Plans, engravings and drawings will describe the castle’s history, the arrangements and reconfigurations that were made, whereas bust and portrait series will remind you of the famous people who lived there. Don’t wait any longer and schedule a visit of the palace which hosted French kings, emperors and presidents for centuries!

A bit of History…

Located in the North-West of the Versailles Castle’s park, on land that once belonged to a village purchased by Louis XIV, the Grand Trianon has been preceded by a first castle originally built in 1670 on Louis le Vau’s order: the Porcelain Trianon. This small palace was designed mainly as a venue for the romantic relations between Louis XIV and the Marquise de Montespan, and got its name from the 'Chinese-style' blue and white porcelain that covered it.

Destroyed in 1687, it has been replaced by the Marble Trianon, which is the actual Grand Trianon. Its creator, Jules Hardouin-Mansart (who closely followed the Louis XIV’s specifications), described this masterpiece as a «little pink marble palace, with porphyry and delightful gardens». It was a pleasure castle, a private domain where the «Sun King» invited court ladies for parties and shows. The Grand Trianon has retained its decor from the 17th-century, with elegance, spacious rooms, but at the same time an intimate atmosphere. You also can observe Ovid Metamorphoses portrait, in complete harmony with the lighter spirit of this campaign’s residency.
With a lot of Italian’s architecture influences, this palace includes many magnificent French orderly geometric gardens.

The Grand Trianon was relatively little used by Louis XV, who nevertheless lived here sometimes with the Marquise de Pompadour. During the French Revolution, the furniture’s collections have been dispersed or damaged.
It once again became active in 1804, when the Napoleon emperor married in this palace with Empress Marie-Louise. For this occasion, the chateau was fully refurnished and became the Imperial Palace. Louis-Philippe 1st was the last French king who lived in there with his family, modifying a bit again the place to make it more comfortable.

It was turned into a museum at the end of the 19th century, then during the 20th century the Grand Trianon gets its historical furnishings and splendour back. Indeed, the birth of the fifth French Republic is a major new step for this palace: De Gaulle General transformed it in a presidencial residency, welcoming foreign representatives. The Trianon has played a major role in France's international relations. Among these representatives, we can cite the American presidential couple John and Jackie Kennedy, the Queen Elizabeth II, the Russian president Boris Eltsine… Recently, the actual French President Francois Hollande received his counterpart from the Republic of China, Xi Jinping.

The Exhibition

Plans, engravings and drawings will show you the arrangements and transformations made to the Grand Trianon over the course of history. Some painting masterpieces, ordered in 1688 by Louis XIV or in 1811 by Napoleon, portraits of personalities who lived in the palace… are just a few examples of the exhibition’s highlights. The atmosphere of smaller rooms centred around furniture designed for intimacy has been reproducedlike for example the Emperor's pedestal surrounded by the chairs from the Hall of Mirrors, or the chair belonging to Princess Clémentine d’Orléans, the daughter of Louis-Philippe. Fascinating objects such as the recently restored ivory kiosk by Barrau and the vase of the Imperial Hunt by Swebach embellish the exhibition.

Three similar chairs are featured in the exhibition: the two first belonged to Napoleon, and the third one was for the General De Gaulle. These three chairs demonstrate that the Palace of Trianon has since its early days been a hub for the powerful. It is also a way to announce the next show, starting in 2016, which will be dedicated to the history of the Grand Trianon from 1960 to nowadays.

Facilities

  • Schedule:
    The exhibition is open every day except Mondays.
    Until the 31st of October: from 12.00 PM to 06.30 PM.
    From the 1st to the 8th of November: from 12.00 PM to 05.30 PM. The visit lasts about three hours.
  • Tickets available on reservation by phone (+0033 (0)1 30 83 78 00), or online on www.chateauversailles.fr.
  • Free game booklet for children from 6 to 12 years old, available at the entry.

Access

  • Plane: Parisian airports (Orly and Charles de Gaulle).
  • SNCF trains: From Paris-Montparnasse, stop when you reach the «Versailles
    Chantiers» train station. From Paris-Saint Lazare, stop when you reach the «Versailles Rive Droite» train station.
  • « Autocar Express » bus: the departure point is at the Eiffel Tower, from Tuesday to Sundays (2 daily rides).
  • By car: Take the «Versailles Centre»’s A13 highway exit.

Address

Le Château de Versailles
Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles

Things to see

Point of interest