Until the 25 February 2018, the Palace of Versailles features an exhibition that presents how visitors from all over the world already rushed to this open to all palace since the reign of Louis XIV
With more than 7 million visitors per year in the XXIst Century, Versailles is one of the most visited historic sites in the world. The palace and gardens of Versailles have attracted visitors ever since the small hunting lodge built by Louis XIII was transformed by Louis XIV into one of the most stunning residences in Europe, open to everyone according to the King's will.
Cosmopolitan Versailles has welcomed French and foreign travellers, princes, ambassadors, artists, writers and philosophers, architects, scholars, tourists on the "Grand Tour" and day trippers from near and far. While some came to Versailles to see the King or win his favour, others were received officially by the Sovereign in the Palace, a place of intensive diplomatic activity.
Both public and private the palace of Versailles hosted the quotidian show that the King performed for his Cour and all his subjects. Visitors flocked from all over the world to this castlet that became the most accessible in Europe. The whole society without any distinction was invited to go to Versailles.
From the ambassadors of Siam in 1686 to the ambassadors of the Indian Kingdom of Mysore in 1788, representatives from almost every continent came to Versailles. Each visit was an opportunity to discover beautiful national dress and the originality of the gifts visitors brought with them. Gazettes, literary journals and official memoires bore testimony to the most important visitors and the parties held in their honour.
The exhibition is the first on this subject and will turn the spotlight on these visitors through more than 300 works from the late 17th century to the French Revolution. With portraits and sculptures, Court attire, travel guides, tapestries, Sevres and Meissen porcelain, display weapons and snuffboxes, the exhibition will reveal what visitors discovered upon arriving at Versailles. It will also show the sort of welcome awaiting them, what they saw and their impressions, the gifts or memories they left with. Visitors today will discover the Palace through the eyes of those who have gone before them over the course of history.
- Bertrand Rondot, Head Curator at the Palace of Versailles, in charge of furniture and objets d’art
- Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide, Curator at the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Some works from the exhibition
A twelve soundtracks audio guide is available in three languages (French, English ans Spanish). Each soundtrack addresses a particular theme, calling upon the visitor's imagination, thanks to the testimonies of those who preceeded him between 1682 and 1789. The narrator, the Grand Chambellan de France, introduces in each of the exhibition's rooms one of the witnesses who tells aspects and reasons of his visit.
The exhibition will be held until the 25 February 2018 in the Château, Tuesdays - Sundays. Opening hours:
- 9am - 6:30pm (last admission 5:45pm) until the 31st October
- 9am - 5:30pm (last admission 4:45pm) from the 1st November
The Exhibition ticket is only available online and provides a priory access to the exhibition.
Around the exhibition
Discover three multimedia stories, Kosa Pan, Siam’ ambassador in France in 1686, Benjamin Franklin, who met Louis XVI in 1778, and Mrs Thrale, a British diarist, who stayed in Versailles in 1775.
Game Booklet of the exhibition
To help children better understand the exhibition, the Palace of Versailles has designed a discovery game in partnership with Paris Mômes.
This game booklet is free of charge and available at the entrance of the exhibition.
With protraits and sculptures, Court attire, travel guides, tapestries, Sevres and Messein porcelaine, display weapons and snuffboxes, this catalogue reveals what visitors discovered upon arriving at Versailles, what they saw and their impressions, the gifts or memories they left with. The catalogue is available only in French.
Under the direction of Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide and Bertrand Rondot
Edited by Château de Versailles and Gallimard
Sponsorphips & Partnerships
The partnership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York
Jointly organised by the Palace of Versailles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the "Visitors to Versailles 1682-1789" exhibition is the first large-scale collaboration project between the two internationally-renowned cultural institutions. From the reception of Benjamin Franklin at the court of Louis XVI in 1778, to the extraordinary patronage of John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the 1920s, Versailles has always been a key location in which French and American friendship has been played out. More than 800,000 American visitors now come to admire beauty of the Estate of Versailles every year, making the USA the country that provides the largest number of foreign visitors.
This exhibition is made thanks to the sponsophip of Gazprom, Groupe ADP, Saint-Gobain and Opus One,
with the participation of the Fondation François Sommer and Madame Krystyna Campbell-Pretty and her family,
with the support of Moët Hennessy,
in media partnership with:
The Palace of Versailles presents many operas, concerts, gala evening and ballets in some of its exceptional sites as the Royal Opera and the Royal Chapel. In May 2020 we will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the inauguration of the Versailles Royal Opera : discover the 2019-2020 musical season programme.