Versailles is one of the most lavish buildings in the world, attracting millions of visitors every year. Located just outside of Paris, the luxurious mega-palace represented the excess of the French monarchy. No expense was spared in creating the 700-room behemoth, which features iconic features such as the Hall of Mirrors. Versailles began life as a humble hunting lodge, before undergoing extensive renovations during the reign of Louis XIV.
She said: “The real pots had to be emptied quite frequently. The servants didn’t have time to empty them into the ditch on the right.
“So what they would do is they would just throw it in the corner or throw things out the window.
“Queen Marie Antoinette was once walking through the inner courtyard and she was hit by flying human poop.
“I mean it’s terrible. So Versailles was really a place that smelled rather disgusting.
Professor Williams has revealed how French nobles and aristocrats in Versailles did not have access to proper toilet facilities.
Guests were forced to relieve themselves in pots in the corner of one of the palace’s many rooms.
The accumulation of human excrement was so bad, according to Professor Williams, that palace staff would not have time to properly dispose of the chamber pots.
The expert said: ‘Versailles was beautiful, elegant, graceful and giant toilets.
“There were 10,000 people crammed into Versailles. Sometimes another 5,000 people came to visit.
“Between those 10,000 and 15,000 people, you had the colossal sum of 300 chamber pots.
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“Only the greatest aristocrats brought a pot for themselves.
“Most people, especially servants and visitors, received nothing.”
She added: “So the majority of people who come to Versailles, they would just defecate in a corner or behind a screen.”
Professor Williams said the generally wide skirts worn by women at the time also presented a hygiene problem.
The historian explained how they offered women an element of privacy, allowing them to relieve themselves where they were.
But this created a problem, as urine would be absorbed into the material, adding to the already awful smells at Versailles.
“Secrets of the Royal Palaces” is available to stream on My5.