What’s old is new again at the Palace of Versailles, as several important rooms reopen to the public after a major renovation to stylize them as they were in previous centuries.
Exciting changes have taken place at the Palace of Versailles during the pandemic when many people weren’t watching. Perhaps the hottest is the opening of a new hotel on its grounds last summer. Arguably France’s most remarkable hotel, guests enjoy after-hours access to the former royal palace, perfectly maximalist rooms furnished with 18th-century antiques, a restaurant run by the chef Alain Ducasse and a spa offering treatments inspired by Marie-Antoinette.
Palace day-trippers don’t have to shell out the $2,077 per night at the hotel to experience something new. During their absence, several important venues have been revamped, including the Jeu de Paume or the Royal Tennis Court in Versailles, which is reopening today after a €1.8 million renovation project, offering the public “a forgotten part of [France’s] history”, Catherine Pegard, president of the public administration of the palace, told AFP.
The room was created in 1686 for Louis XIV as a tennis court for the royal family before becoming the site of the founding act of French democracy 100 years later. It was there that, on June 20, 1789, the deputies took an oath to write the first French constitution after being excluded from the Menus-Pleasures hall of Versailles after refusing to submit to the king.
Today, the room once again hosts guided tours after eight months of closure, bringing back motifs that disappeared after a previous restoration in 1789 and restoring the mammoth Luc-Olivier Merson, painting, The tennis court oath.
Elsewhere in the palace, the apartment of the Dauphin, eldest son of Louis XV, also reopens today after 18 months of work. Considered one of the most prestigious apartments in the palace, the ground floor apartment (composed of a bedroom, a library and a reception room) joins the tour circuit alongside the restored private apartment of Madame Du Barry (mistress of Louis XV).
Museum officials tried to make the rooms look almost identical to what they had when they were at the height of their power and splendor, by hiring local carpenters, gilders, marble workers and stucco workers. to restore them to their 18th century brilliance.
“This campaign has brought the apartment back to perfection,” added Pegard, noting that the renovation is finally opening up the entire ground floor of the palace to visitors.
“Today, we are pushing a new door, closed for a long time. Proof that at Versailles, we have never seen everything,” Pegard told reporters.