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HistoryThe big dates

1722 Retour of the Court to Versailles



15 June 1722

After 7 years of absence, the Court was back in Versailles. Louis XV, aged 12, was delighted to return to the palace of his great-grandfather Louis XIV, where he was born. He was to stay here until his death in 1774.

Weary of the criticisms of the Parliament and the hostility of the crowds when he passed in Paris, the Regent decided to go back to Versailles, to the joy of the young Louis XV who was bored in the Tuileries palace. In his absence, Blouin, Governor of Versailles, had continued to maintain the Château and had turned on the garden fountains every two weeks.

On 15 June 1722, the king arrived in Versailles in the late afternoon. The crowd massed along the avenue de Paris to acclaim his return: he was going to restore its glory and liveliness to the town. After descending from his carriage, Louis XV went first to the royal chapel to pray to the Holy Sacrament, a symbolic act of a “Very Christian King”. He then rushed out into the gardens where, in spite of the heat, he made the round of all the groves, with his entourage struggling to keep up with him. He then visited all the grand apartments. In the Hall of Mirrors he lay down on the parquet to admire the vault of Le Brun relating the heroic deeds of his great-grandfather. The Court imitated him, while the Regent took the opportunity to change his shirt. The reaction of Louis XV showed his love of the place and summed up his attitude to the Château. Out of filial respect, he maintained its traditional organisation but adapted it to his own needs and the changed times. Alongside the official Versailles of Louis XIV was to come an intimate Versailles that better suited his comfort.

Louis XV quickly resumed his old habits: on 15 August he went to Assumption mass at Notre-Dame de Versailles, the parish church of the royal family, to make his first communion. Soon he would give orders for new work to be carried out in the Château (decoration of the royal chapel and Hercules salon). With this return, the Court could at last recover its role. The symbolism was highlighted by the fact that Louis XV was to be crowned in Reims in october. The new reign could begin at last.

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