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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

The King's Apartments

Versailles

17th century

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Life at Versailles was highly ritualised and the king's life was lived out in public.

This had 2 purposes : to impress Louis XIV's subjects and to inspire trust - as they always knew what he was up to.

Louis XIV's would wake up in this room at 8:30am.

The first person to see him would be the valet sleeping at the foot of his bed.

Then a group of close courtiers and family would come in to see him wash, shave, and put his wig on.

Other courtiers would progressively be invited in.

By the end, more than 100 people were present.

The king would then go to mass, walking through the famous Hall of Mirrors, where hundreds of people would be waiting for him, hoping to catch his attention.

He would then return to his apartments to attend meetings with his ministers, before often going out for a hunt or a walk.

He would have dinner, again in public, at around 10pm.

Fun fact : the palace was so big, and the kitchens so far, that food was often cold by the time it arrived!

3 evenings a week he would host parties for courtiers in the State apartments.

After dinner, the king would return to his apartments and prepare for bed, again in front of hundreds of people.

If a noble carried particular particular favor, he would be given the immense privilege of holding the king's candle.

People would finally leave and Louis XIV would then go to bed, after having shared a secret password with his guards, who slept in the room next door.

Louis XIV died in this room, after 72 years on the throne!

It was also here that Louis XVI, and his wife, Marie-Antoinette were confronted by an angry crowd that stormed the palace and forced them to move to Paris - one of the first major steps of the French Revolution.

La Joconde, de Vinci (1519)

Next:

The Queen's Apartments

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