Madame Du Barry’s apartment covers almost 350 m2 and comprises a dozen or so rooms, some of the most ornate of which require restoration.
The project to restore Madame Du Barry’s apartment has been made possible thanks to the patronage of the AXA group.
Madame Du Barry’s apartment
This apartment was Maria Josepha of Saxony’s up until 1767, when it was redesigned and assigned to Louis XV’s new favourite, Jeanne Bécu, who had recently become Countess Du Barry. She would remain at Versailles until the death of the king, in 1774.
Under the direction of engineer and architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, this apartment, located on the second floor of the king’s chambers, was completed in 1770. Together, its fourteen rooms make up one of the most elegant complexes within the royal residence and are a true testament to the private life of Louis XV at Versailles.
The restoration project
The only other restoration campaign took place from 1943 to 1947. Led by chief architect André Japy, its aim was to restore the apartment to how Madame Du Barry herself would have known it. The bulk of the restoration work consisted of repairing the ceiling and the cabinet doors, as well as the restoration of an overmantel in line with visible marks in the wood on the parquet.
In the almost three-quarters of a century that have elapsed since, the only other activity was some maintenance work on the ceilings, which were painted in 2011. Today, Madame Du Barry’s apartment is in a rather poor state, necessitating a new programme of work and more detailed restoration activity in the workshop. This substantial project will require the skills of a great many expert craftspeople, if the apartment is to regain all its charm and harmony.
The aim of this restoration project is to recreate the apartment as close as possible to how it looked in 1770.
A substantial undertaking
The project to restore Madame Du Barry’s apartment is due to last for 18 months. The challenge is to get the work that began in spring 2021 finished by June 2022, so that the apartment is ready to be visited as part of an exhibition devoted to Louis XV’s return to Versailles in 1722.
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