The Dufour Pavilion has opened on 23 February 2016. This new entrance created by the architect Dominique Perrault mixes restoration, rehabilitation and contemporary works. It establishes the Palace of Versailles in the modernity that it owes its visitors.
The works of the Dufour Pavilion are one of the major works of the « Grand Versailles » plan launched in 2003. The three priorities of this programme are the restoration of the historical monument and its decor, the safety upgrade of all the site and improving the reception of visitors notably through the Pavillon Dufour redevelopment.
Whith the work completed, visitors enter via one of the two wings on either side of the royal courtyard (cour royale): the Dufour Pavilion on the left for individual visitors, and the Dufour Pavilion on the right for groups.
The architect and town planner Dominique Perrault was commissioned by the Palace of Versailles to oversee the renovation of the Dufour Pavilion. The method Mr Perrault recommended to respect all the historic and architectural heritage of this part of the old palace was particularly appealing.
New visitors’ reception area
The redevelopment of the Pavilion establishes the Palace of Versailles in the modernity and quality of service that it owes its visitors with every reception service in the same place.
The Dufour Pavilion has four main functions:
- the street level for the circulation and services (toilets, shop,..),
- the garden level for reception, security and information,
- the first floor for a contemporary café managed by Ducasse and named Ore,
- the second floor for an auditorium.
Maps of the reception area
ORE - DUCASSE AU CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES
In the context of the redevelopment of the Dufour Pavilion, the Palace of Versailles entrusted Alain Ducasse with the creation of a restauration space to host an international clientele. His teams took up the challenge with an elegant contemporary café in the French spirit, located on the 1st floor of the Dufour Pavilion and open onto the Royal courtyard.
This welcoming and convivial place was conceived by the architect Dominique Perrault and by Frédéric Didier, architect in chief of the Palace of Versailles. its layout was voluntarily made in complete coherence withe the architectural choices which presided to the whole building. Reminders of the splendor of the Sun King and contemporary reinterpretations of historical themes were developed by Gaëlle Lauriot-Prévost.
« Alain Ducasse at the Palace of Versailles, it's the French art de vivre where he contributes to the fame of France but shared with our international visitors. » Catherine Pégard, president of the Palace of Versailles.
THE ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT OF DOMINIQUE PERRAULT
Renovation work that will respect the old buildings
The architect and town planner Dominique Perraultwas commissioned by the Palace of Versailles to oversee the renovation of the Dufour Pavilion. The method Mr Perrault recommended to respect all the historic and architectural heritage of this part of the old palace was particularly appealing.
Dominique Perrault planned to dig a trench in the Cour des Princes, along the Old Wing (Vieille Aile), to house a large embedded staircase. He preferred this option to that of doubling the façade of the Old Wing on the Cour des Princes side. The Dufour Pavilion underwent considerable alterations in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly to house part of the staff offices. The very few remaining historic elements will still be kept. The windows, doors and roofing will also be restored.
The architectural project
The opened-out ground floor will include the admission desk, information and visitor guidance. It is the departure point for the various tours of the Palace and opens directly on to the Main Courtyard (Cour Royale).
A comfortable circulation space will be installed in the basement of the Dufour Pavilion. With an indoor height of 4 metres, it will be lit by natural daylight thanks to the glass guardrail created by the large staircase embedded in the trench of the Cour des Princes. This area corresponds to the exit point of the tour of the Palace and will provide access to the gardens.
An auditorium and a Ducasse café named Ore will be installed on the first and second floors. These will be freely accessible to the public, even if they are not visiting the Palace..