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    2016

    Exhibition program at the palace of Versailles

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    2016

    Discover the extramural exhibitions of the Palace of Versailles

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  • Festivities and Entertainment

    The infinite variety and ingenuity of entertainment provided at Court.

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    Versailles Festival 2016

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Festivities and Entertainment at Court

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The Exhibition

From 29 November 2016 to 26 March 2017, the Palace of Versailles presents an exhibition showing the infinite variety and ingenuity of entertainment provided at Court, making Versailles a venue for ever more monumental, extraordinary and fantastical parties and shows. Covering three reigns, from Louis XIV to the French Revolution, the exhibition does not aim to be exhaustive, but focuses on the courtier’s point of view.

Practical information

Exhibition from November 29th 2016 to March 26th 2017

The exhibition is open every day, except on Mondays25 December and 1 January, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (last entry at 4:45 PM).

Guided tours of the exhibition are available in French

Admission included in Passports and Palace tickets bought at the Palace or online. Before buying your tickets, check if you are eligible for free admission.

Exhibition tickets available online allow you to skip the line.

Book a ticket

Fifth day. Fireworks on the Grand
Canal of Versailles, on 18 August 1674

The exhibition

As a political monarch, King Louis XIV took “grand entertainment” to the height of magnificence, making Versailles a venue for monumental, extraordinary and fantastical parties and shows. The king had a shrewd understanding of the human mind and understood that “this society of pleasure, which gives members of the Court an honest familiarity with [the sovereign], and touches and charms them more than can be said,” (Louis XIV, Memoirs for the Instruction of the Dauphin, 1661) was necessary for the political framework he had built. Everyday life in Court required multiple forms of entertainment, and extraordinary royal events needed to surprise and enthral the court, the kingdom—all of Europe. Each of his successors maintained the tradition of splendid, creative shows in their own way, according to their own tastes and the fashions of the time.

La Barre and other musicians This exhibition presents the infinite variety and ingenuity of entertainment at Court, whether put on by the King or enjoyed by the Court. These included all forms of public shows, comedies, operas, concerts, fireworks and light displays, as well as private performances in which Lords and Ladies of the Court went on stage themselves. The was a large amount of gambling, leading to fortune or ruin, as well as physical activities in which members of the court had to shine, including hunting, dancing in balls and masked balls, pall-mall and real tennis.

Covering three reigns, from Louis XIV to the Revolution, the exhibition does not aim to be exhaustive, but focuses on the courtier’s point of view. A large selection of clothing, paintings, objects and graphics from French and foreign public and private collections convey the wide range of entertainment and the refinement associated with them. The exhibits are accompanied by large visuals, 3D images and immersive scenes that invite visitors to rediscover the atmosphere in the venues — some of which no longer exist — and imagine what it would be like to be in the King’s court.

Exhibition Curators

Béatrix Saule, Head curator of the exhibition, Director - general curator of the Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Élisabeth Caude, General curator, Head of the Department of Furniture and Works of art of the Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Jérôme de La Gorce, Emeritus director of research at the CNRS, Scientific advisor at the Centre de recherche du château de Versailles

Scenography

Artistic Director : Patrick Hourcade, photographer and plastic artist

Agence Décoral : Patrick Bazanan, Valéry Sanglier et Marine Bouthémy

The exhibition partners

With the sponsorship of Saint-Gobain:

Saint-Gobain

With the support of Epson, Samsung Electronics France, Fêtes et Feux and Moët Hennessy:

Epson

Samsung

Fêtes & Feux

Moët Hennessy

With the kind collaboration of the National Opera of Paris, the AROP and the Société des Amis de Versailles

Opéra National de Paris

AROP

Société des Amis de Versailles

The exhibition is made with the exceptional support of the French National Library :

Bibliothèque nationale de France

In media partnership with: BFM Paris, Connaissance des arts, Direct Matin, Figaroscope et France Culture:

BFM Paris

Connaissance des Arts

Direct Matin

Figaroscope

France Culture

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