Individual The Coach Gallery

Located in the Great Stables of the Palace of Versailles, the Gallery of Coaches has been renovated and presents an exceptional collection of carriages, sedan chairs and sledges. These historic vehicles of great artistic and technical value have been used in the past to serve the display of royal, imperial and presidential power.

Practical Information

Duration of visit
Allow for one hour. The Gallery of Coaches is open from 12.30 to 5.30 or 6.30 p.m.
View detailed times

Recommended seasons
All seasons

Access
From the Palace of Versailles, it is approximately 8 minutes on foot, and lies in the direction of the town.
Locate the Gallery of Coaches

Ticket
Free admission

The Royal Stables opposite the Palace

Going down from the Palace, you cross the Place d'Armes from where you can see the Royal Stables, as well as the equestrian statue of Louis XIV, dating from the nineteenth century. Since ancient Roman times, portraits on horseback have been symbols of power. The contemporaries of Louis XIV were already amazed by the size and majesty of these stables, whose exceptional position, right in front of the Palace, gives a firm indication of the importance of horses in the display of power under the Ancien Régime.

The Great and Small Stables are built symmetrically on two trapezoidal areas between the three avenues of the patte-d’oie laid down by André Le Notre a few years before. Their name derives not from their size but their use: to the north (to the left when descending from the Palace), the Great Stable looked after battle steeds, perfectly trained for hunting and war; to the south, the Small Stable housed horses for work, for drawing carriages and carts, as well as fantasy vehicles, sledges and gondolas.

Enter the horseshoe-shaped yard of the Great Stables, which is the one on the left going down from the Palace.

Imagine the bustle with 1,500 men working in the Royal Stables!

During the reign of Louis XIV, the activity at the royal stables was constant and intense: squires, pages, coachmen, postilions, footmen, boys, horsemen or couriers, chairmen, grooms, blacksmiths, farriers and saddlers, makers of spurs, chaplains, musicians, horse surgeons, etc. A world in itself!

The Gallery of coaches

Enter the Gallery of Coaches on the ground floor and pick up a map at the entrance, or download it online. Built in the reign of Louis XIV, the Gallery of Coaches retains its original appearance with its oak panelling bearing racks for forage and feeders.

Move inside and stop in front of the sedan chairs and children’s carts [2 on the map].

Although the majority of the carriages of the old French Court disappeared during the Revolution, the collection includes some small carriages for outings used by the children of  Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Other rooms also illustrate the travelling customs of the Court in town and at the Palace: four sedan chairs date from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Turn around and admire the seven ceremonial carriages ordered in 1810 for the marriage of Napoleon I and the Empress Marie-Louise [1].

Now head towards the end of the gallery, where you can already make out the spectacular carriage used for the coronation of Charles X.

Restoration Carriages

After the Revolution and the Empire, the Restoration (1815-1830) re-established the brothers of Louis XVI on the throne, first Louis XVIII, and then Charles X in 1825. The coach used for his coronation is of an extraordinary richness that harks back to the splendour of the Ancien Régime. A veritable moving throne, the carriage was reused for the baptism of the Imperial Prince, son of Napoleon III. The decoration was then modified, and the royal insignia were replaced by the imperial emblems: the eagles and the “N” of Napoleon.

Head to your right to discover an astonishing collection dating from the Ancien Régime: the Court sledges [4]. A fashion imported from the Nordic courts, sledge races used to be held in the walks of the Versailles park. Those on display date from the eighteenth century, and their decoration, freer than that of the official coaches, made it possible to express all the fantasy of the period.

Now walk over to the other end of the gallery. A last spectacular carriage awaits you: the funeral carriage of Louis XVIII [6], the first Restoration king and predecessor of Charles X. While Louis XVIII was the last king to die in office (the others died in exile), the funeral carriage was again used from the Third Republic onwards for the funerals of seven French political figures.

Turn around to leave the gallery by the entrance, but just before going out, don’t overlook the last carriages: the carriages of the Presidency [7] under the Third Republic. Elegant but much more sober, these vehicles were used in particular for the reception of foreign sovereigns until the First World War.

Ask at the National Equestrian Academy of Versailles to visit the rest of the Great Stable.

At this point, you can enjoy a well-deserved lunch break or refreshment!

  • Several catering services are available throughout the Estate.
  • Picnics are not allowed in the gardens of Versailles except in the covered area, which is reserved by priority for school children. Picnics are also permitted in the Park on the Saint Antoine Plain (in the direction of the Trianon from the Palace), and at the Lake of the Swiss Guard (opposite the Orangery, outside the Estate on the town side down Rue de l’Indépendance Américaine or on the Park side via the Sailors’ Gate).

Extend your visit!

    tour tips

    • In the rooms, photographs without a flash are permitted, but selfie sticks are not allowed.
    • Caution, please take care to avoid pickpockets inside and outside the Palace.
    • There are two free Wifi points: in the Main Courtyard and the entrance to the gardens. You can make use of them to download the visitor's app to the Palace and its gardens.
    • The Coach Gallery can be cold and draughty so bring something warm, even in summer.

    Make the most of your discoveries