The Palace of Versailles during the Great War 1914-1918

Thanks to an unprecedented combination of photographic material and original records safeguarded in the museum archives and at the French National Library, you can discover how the Palace of Versailles lived through the 14-18 War. In partnership with the French National Library, Gallica.

A Web series in 4 episodes

Episode 1: Versailles, August 1914. A palace in a state of war

Episode 2: Versailles, 1915-1917. The war effort

Episode 3: Versailles, 1918. Towards victory

Episode 4: Versailles, 28 June 1919. Signature of the Peace Treaty

The Treaty of Versailles

Versailles and the First World War

Both are equally associated, and rightly so, with the historic signing in the Hall of Mirrors of the Peace Treaty, or the “Treaty of Versailles”, on 28 June 1919. Much less is known about the actual period of war.

What happened at Versailles during those four years?

One thing is certain: the Palace was very much involved in events, protecting works of art from the bombings, welcoming visiting wounded soldiers, and organising charity events in the gardens, as well as political celebrations... Without doubt, Versailles contributed to the war effort. Indeed, events at Versailles were popular subjects that newspaper readers of the period liked to keep up with.

Those press articles and accompanying photographic features provided much of the material used in this web series. Combined with documentation provided by the army or generated from archives which are still kept at the Château, the videos propose the viewpoint of the curator from the inside, as well as that of the architect who was in charge of Versailles at the time. Original archives, moving accounts and surprising images plunge us into that troubled period of history of the Palace of Versailles.

Defensive line protecting the camp

The defensive line protecting the Paris camp runs through the Grand Parc at Versailles

© EPV/ Christophe Fouin

List of museum attendants

List of museum attendants killed or injured in 1914

© EPV/ Christophe Fouin

Military parade in the Honour Courtyard

Military parade in the Honour Courtyard of the Palace of Versailles in February 1915

© EPV/ Christophe Fouin

Sketches by architect Benjamin Chaussemiche

Sketches by architect Benjamin Chaussemiche for protection of the park’s statues during the 1918 bombings

© EPV/ Christophe Fouin

Water Parterre statues

Water Parterre statues protected from the bombings in 1918

© EPV/ Christophe Fouin

Web series trailer

Visit the website for the Apocalypse series on the First World War

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Snowy Versailles

This winter, the snow falls upon Versailles bringing a little enchantment to the Palace born from Louis XIV's mind. Versailles appears in a new light and unveils some of its secrets to the most adventurous visitors who came to brave the winter cold and admire the poetry of the place. As days go by, visitors capture the mild magical light of the season: here is a selection of their photographs.