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HistoryThe big dates

1962-1966 André Malraux and Versailles




General de Gaulle told André Malraux: “Versailles deserves it, so let’s not haggle over restoring its grandeur”. From 1962 to 1966, the Minister for Cultural Affairs implemented the policy for the restoration of the Grand Trianon.

André Malraux, the Minister for Cultural Affairs from 1959 to 1969, undertook the complete restoration of the Grand Trianon in the 1960s, which included the refurbishment of the left wing for the guests of honour of the Republic and the Trianon-sous-bois wing for the French Head of State. In their book Grandeur et misère du patrimoine, (Grandeur and Misery of the Heritage), André Malraux and Jacques Duhamel wrote about the restoration of the Grand Trianon: “The task is considerable because it involves installing all modern amenities in a building which has no telephone line, heating, kitchen or bathroom. In 1963, the programme was expanded by the order from the President of the Republic for an additional suite of apartments reserved for the Head of State. It was decided to install this new accommodation in the Trianon-sous-bois wing”.

Henceforth, General de Gaulle accommodated his prestigious guests more readily at Trianon than in the Elysée palace, previously the Paris residence of Madame de Pompadour. He pointed out that “the residence of a Queen seems more dignified than that of a mistress”, a remark more amusing than strictly historically accurate. The last person to stay here was President Richard Nixon in March 1969, only one month before the resignation of General de Gaulle.

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