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Apartments of the dauphin and the dauphine

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Apartments of the dauphin and the dauphine

These ground-floor apartments were always reserved for the leading members of the royal family. Their present state corresponds to when they were occupied by Louis XV’s son, Louis, dauphin of France, and his second wife, Marie-Josèphe de Saxe, between 1747 and 1765. When the Revolution broke out in 1789 they housed the young dauphin at this time, the future Louis XVII, and his sister Madame Royale. These apartments are currently closed.

The dauphine’s first antechamber

This room stands on part of the site of a chapel that occupied the upper ground floor and the first floor. In 1682 the chapel was demolished and replaced by an apartment used by the duchesse de Montpensier, known as “la Grande Mademoiselle” (1692-1693); the Grand-Aumônier de France (1693-1706), who directed the royal household’s religious activities; and the Grand-Maître de la garde-robe du Roi (1706-1712), who oversaw the king’s wardrobe. In 1712 a guardroom for the duc de Berry replaced the apartment. After his death on 4 July 1714, the room became part of the maréchal de Villars’ apartment. In 1747 its size was reduced by a third to form the dauphine’s first antechamber.

The paintings presented here evoke the Regency of Philippe d’Orléans, then the accession and coronation of Louis XV. A portrait of the young king painted in 1723 by Alexis-Simon Belle, showing him wearing his coronation costume can be seen. We can also admire a portrait of Philippe d’Orléans by Jean-Baptiste Santerre and portraits of two State Counsellors by Nicolas de Largillière: Thomas Morant and Louis-Urbain Le Peletier. Lastly, a painting by Louis-Michel Dumesnil: The Bed of Justice of Louis XV (1715) hangs on the north wall, and the Cavalcade of the King after the Coronation of 22 October 1722, by Pierre-Denis Martin, hangs on the east wall.

The dauphine’s second antechamber

This room was first intended to be the chapel that was finally fitted out in the preceding room. Originally divided into four rooms, this room formed part of the Grande Mademoiselle’s apartment until 1693. It then became the vestibule of the apartment of Monseigneur, then of the eldest son of the Duc de Bourgogne. The antechamber of the Duc de Berry from 1712 to 1714, it then formed part of the apartment of Maréchal de Villars and finally, in 1747, the second antechamber of the Dauphine.

Portraits of Marie Leszczinska in royal costume and of an unknown royal princess, as well as two paintings of flowers by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer are hung over the door. A bust of the Regent by Jean-Louis Lemoyne can be seen on the handsome chimney-piece carved from Sarrancolin marble, which may come from the bedroom of Marie Leszczinska on the first floor. The north wall displays a large Equestrian Portrait of Louis XV (1723) by Charles Parrocel and Jean-Baptiste Van Loo.

The dauphine’s drawing room

The dauphine’s apartment comes after that of the dauphin and is visited in the opposite direction of the normal order of the succession of rooms, in other words: first and second antechambers, drawing room, bedroom and private study. Marie-Josèphe de Saxe gathered the ladies in her entourage for conversation or games in the drawing room, whose dimensions date back to the period when it served as the guardroom for Louis XIV’s son.

Like the rest of the apartment, a new decor was created here, but it disappeared in the 19th century on the order of king Louis-Philippe. Only the large console table was spared and repositioned under a mirror whose frame has been restored; it now holds a barometer made for the future Louis XVI who, until his accession in 1774, occupied this apartment. Portraits of ministers and members of the royal family at the beginning of the reign of Louis XV as well as of Louis XV himself, depicted in his coronation costume by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1715), hang on the “fire-coloured” wall hanging, a modern evocation of the one mentioned in the royal inventories.

The dauphine’s bedchamber

This is the room where the dauphine Marie-Josèphe de Saxe, daughter of King Augustus III of Poland and wife of Louis XV’s son, gave birth to three future kings of France: Louis XVI, Louis XVIII and Charles X.

Nothing remains of the decor created here in 1747, with the exception of the overdoors painted by Jean Restout. The original bed has been replaced by a handsome bed “à la polonaise” (with a domed canopy supported by four pillars) made by Nicolas Heurtaut. On either side can be seen the sisters-in-law of the Dauphine, the daughters of Louis XV, in particular Madame Henriette as Flora and Madame Adélaïde as Diana by Jean-Marc Nattier. Religious scenes are also featured, such as Saint Joseph holding the Child Jesus on his knees (1749) by Louis de Silvestre and The Nativity (1728) by Noël-Nicolas Coypel.

The dauphine’s private study

For a long time this small room and the following one formed a single space, which was first the antechamber of Monsieur, then of Monseigneur, before becoming the latter’s bedchamber in 1693. It also served as the bedchamber of the regent, then of the dauphin when he was a child, but was divided in 1747 to form private studies for the dauphine and dauphin. The young couple’s apartments communicated with each other by their furthest rooms, protecting their privacy to a certain extent.

Part of the charming wood panelling with its natural look under ‘Martin’ varnish survived; the rest has been recreated and the overdoor representing the Four Seasons which Jean-Baptiste Oudry painted for this room in 1749 has been returned to its place. Antoine-Robert Gaudreaus made the chest of drawers and Bernard II Van Risen Burgh made the secretary desk: these two admirable pieces of furniture were made in 1745 for Marie-Thérèse Raphaëlle, the Spanish Infanta and first Dauphine, and were later used by the second, Marie-Josephe de Saxe. Next to the alcove, which used to feature a sofa, glass doors give access to the back rooms.

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