Ch√Ęteau de Versailles

Bequests, donations and life insurance policies

Bequests, donations and life-insurance policies

The Palace of Versailles and its Estate are among the finest treasures bequethed by the history of France to the universal artistic heritage. Nevertheless, they require permanent restoration and embellishement work, while new acquisitions and a varied programme of cultural events continually enrich the experience of visitors.

Bequeathing to the palace of Versailles means becoming part of its history

The transfer of estate to the Palace of Versailles is tax-exempt (“exoneration of transfer duties”). These donations are used to finance numerous restoration projects, enrich the collections and support the programme of cultural activities and events.

How to transfer your assets


The Sponsorship Department of the palace of Versailles is at your service to hear about your projects, advise you and assist you with the procedures involved.

Serena Gavazzi, chef du service mécénat. Tél : 01 30 83 77 04,

Your solicitor is a specialist in these matters. Don’t hesitate to consult him/her for assistance in the formalisation and setting up of your estate.

Your procedures

1)    Send a letter to: Présidente du Château de Versailles, RP 834, 78008 Versailles cedex, indicating your intention to leave all or part of your estate to the Palace of Versailles, the description of the donation in question and your contact details.
NB. Any donation or bequest of a work of art, a piece of furniture or real estate must first be approved by the Palace of Versailles. Only works of art originating in French royal collections may join the national collections of the Palace of Versailles.

2)    Contact your solicitor to draw up your will. If you do not know any solicitor, the directory of the Conseil National du Notariat (National Council of Solicitors) will help you to find one near you.


French law defines a part of the heritage due to direct heirs who cannot be totally disinherited (“part réservataire”): children, or in their absence, relatives. This part varies according to the number of children.

  • By a general legacy, you bequeath your total assets – excluding the part due to children/relatives (“part réservataire”) – to the Palace of Versailles.
  • By a residuary legacy, you bequeath part of your assets, which you define, to the Palace of Versailles.

  • By a specific legacy, you specify one or more assets that you bequeath to the Palace of Versailles.
Table of the Dauphine by BVRB, acquired by the Public Establishment of Versailles through a bequest (2004) Porcelain terrine, sky blue service of Louis XV, acquired by the Public Establishment of Versailles through a bequest (2004) Inkwell by Pierre-Philippe Thomire, acquired by the Public Establishment of Versailles through a bequest (2005)


A donation is a deed executed before a notary by which you irrevocably transfer your rights or ownership of a possession to the Palace of Versailles. It takes effect immediately.

There are several types of donation, notably the donation with reserved usufruct: the donor keeps possession of the asset until death.

  Two jewellery caskets of Marie-Antoinette, rosewood with fillets of boxwood, ebony and sycamore, with Sèvres porcelain plaque, by Martin Carlin, donation to the Public Establishment of Versailles with reserved usufruct (1961 / 2007)  

Life-insurance policies

Temple of Cupid, at the Estate of Marie-Antoinette

By designating the Palace of Versailles as the beneficiary of all or part of a life insurance policy, you enjoy all the advantages of the life insurance. Upon death, the Public Establishment of Versailles is exempt of all transfer fees.

NB: The amounts placed on a life insurance policy do not legally form part of the succession and hence are not subject to the “part réservataire” due to children/relatives. You can make the Palace of Versailles the beneficiary of a life insurance policy by a simple declaration to your bank and the Palace of Versailles.