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8th European Museums Night

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Passion for planets in Versailles

On 19 May 2012, the Palace of Versailles will open exceptionally the Grand Apartments at night on the theme of Passion for planets in Versailles.

H. Baete © H. Baete

In 1609, Galilee aimed a telescope at the sky and opened a new frontier. The universe was revealed: the Sun stopped moving and the Earth lost its place as the centre of the system. Astronomy then became the outstanding science of the 17th century.

As an echo of this “passion for planets”, each salon of the King’s Grand Apartment was initially dedicated to one of the seven “planets” then known: Venus, Diana (the Moon), Mars, Mercury, Apollo (the Sun), Jupiter and Saturn. Astrology was of course never far off and magical thinking was still pervasive, but the cultivated world took a passionate interest in the new progress made and some scientific discoveries were given a place in these grandly decorated rooms.

For this 8th European Museums Night, the Palace of Versailles offers night-time visitors an exceptional son et lumière visit to the most prestigious rooms of the palace of Louis XIV, the Grand Apartments and the Hall of Mirrors. An ephemeral and original scenographic presentation for one night, combining illuminations, installations and video projections interweaving images and descriptions from the past with the latest images from today’s astrophysics will throw light on this rare testimony to the transition from astrology to astronomy..

© O. de Goursac© O. de Goursac

Practical information


Admission free.
Opening times: from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am (last admission 0:30 am).
Rooms open for the visit: Grand Apartments, Hall of Mirrors and the King’s Bedchamber.
Access: Entry by the Cour d’Honneur (main courtyard) of the Palace.

Download the programme [French]

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