4 May - 3 August 2019 Versailles.
Dreams of architecture

As part of the first Architecture and Landscape Biennial organised by the Ile-de-France Region, the Palace of Versailles is presenting a unique collection of architectural projects that were developed for the Palace and its gardens between the 17th and 19th centuries. The projects will be on show in the Upper Stone Gallery from the 4th of May to the 3rd of August 2019.

The exhibition

From the time when Louis XIV established himself at Versailles to Louis-Philippe’s ultimate transformation of the palace into a museum in 1837, the royal residence was essentially a “permanent building site”. Countless projects, of varying degrees of scale and innovation, were instigated at the behest of the King and the managers of the King’s buildings or devised in the architects’ imagination in order to adapt the palace to new uses, simplify daily life, decorate it in the style of the successive eras, highlight its magnificence or make it more architecturally coherent. Colbert, the superintendent of the King’s buildings, and the Comte d’Angiviller, France’s director-general of buildings, the arts, gardens and manufacturing, both issued calls to architects – in 1669 and 1780, respectively – to put forward ideas. The King’s architects, and Jacques-Ange Gabriel in particular, came up with a steady stream of spectacular plans for extending the palace. However, because of changes in either the monarchs’ tastes, the political circumstances or the kingdom’s finances, not one of these grand transformational projects came to fruition.

Numerous items have been provided on loan from France and overseas for the exhibition, which will gather together around a hundred drawings, architectural plans and elevations, general projects, and one-off and fanciful designs for completely restructuring the town-facing façade, as well as the chapel, performance spaces and garden arrangements.

The exhibition will also benefit from the newly digitised palace plans, which were completed as part of the Verspera project led by the Palace of Versailles research centre and implemented together with the National Archives, the National Library of France and the ETIS laboratory, under the aegis of the French Science and Heritage Foundation.

As a result, members of the public will be able to discover Versailles “as it never was but could have been”, thus gaining a new perspective on the palace and truly appreciating its enduring uniqueness.

Brochure of the exhibition

This exhibition is part of the first Architecture and Landscape Biennial, organised by the Ile-de-France Region at Versailles from 4 May to 13 July 2019.



Discover the audio tour of the exhibition "Versailles. Dreams of architecture (1660-1815)" on the Palace of Versailles' free app.


Discover the app


Élisabeth Maisonnier, curator at the Palace of Versailles and manager of the Graphic Arts Department

Artworks selection

Some of the exhibition works

1811-1813 — Alexandre Dufour et Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine

Palais de Versailles
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vers 1780 — Marie-Joseph Peyre

Versailles entouré d'une colonnade à la façon de Saint-Pierre de Rome
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vers 1814 — Pierre Drahonet

Démolition du pavillon de la vieille aile
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vers 1948 — d'après Jean-Baptiste II Lemoyne

Ange-Jacques Gabriel, architecte
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1680-1686 — Jacques Sallé

Dessin d'un des côtés de la terrasse qui doit faire la séparation de la nouvelle orangerie d'avec la ville de Versailles
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XVIIIe siècle — Louis-Joseph-Siffrède Duplessis

Charles-Claude, comte d'Angiviller La Billarderie
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vers 1780 — Jean-François Heurtier

Projet de façade du château de Versailles
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1801-1825 — Pierre-Adrien Pâris

Versailles, projet de Pâris, coupe d'une aile
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vers 1781 — Pierre-Adrien Pâris

Projet de reconstruction pour Versailles présenté au Roi Louis XVI
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game Booklet 

Young visitors from 8 to 12 years-old can learn more about the Palace's transformations and the architectural projects requested by Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. A game booklet is availaible freely at the entrance of the exhibition or by downloading :

Download the game booklet

Become a patron

By becoming a patron of the exhibition you will receive bespoke benefits, as well as tax relief on your donation amount.

For more information, contact the Patronage Department :

Serena Gavazzi


This exhibition is made in media partnership with :