Versailles, France: The Palace of Versailles reopens the site of an often overlooked part of its history on Friday with a fully restored Jeu de Paume room that hosted the founding of French democracy.The room was made in 1686 for Louis XIV to play Jeu de Paume – also known as “real tennis”, an early version of the modern game.
On June 20, 1789, a group of representatives of the people, who demanded reforms to the monarchy, found their entrance blocked in the hall of deputies of the palace and sought an alternative meeting place.
They ended up signing the “Real Tennis Hall Oath”, vowing to establish a written democratic constitution.
It led to the formation of the National Constituent Assembly, which soon after abolished feudalism and approved the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
The room reopens Friday after eight months of work, offering the public “a forgotten part of our history”, declared to AFP Catherine Pegard, president of the public administration of the palace.
It is dominated by a monumental canvas, also restored, which was inspired by the famous unfinished work of Jacques-Louis David representing the signing of the oath.
Following other political upheavals, it hosted the Museum of the French Revolution from the 1880s before falling back into disrepair for many decades.
The Palace is also reopening the rooms used by royal heirs in the 1700s, fully restored to the original design.
By Sandra BIFFOT-LACUT
© Agence France-Presse
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