La Vie Creative

EP 141: Paris History Avec A Hemingway (Versailles)

August 30, 2021 Krystal Kenney
La Vie Creative
EP 141: Paris History Avec A Hemingway (Versailles)
Show Notes

The Chateau Versailles, just the name evokes glamour, golden splendor and the regal days of France.  We cover it all today on the newest episode of Paris History Avec a Hemingway.  

Versailles began in 1604 when Louis XIII would come out to the woods to hunt and decided to build a hunting lodge. In 1623 a small lodge next to a windmill that sat on top of a low hill was the humble beginning that is hard to imagine today. Louis XIII would gather his hunting friends and head out to the lodge. His wife Anne d’Autriche had her own suite of rooms but she wasn’t allowed to stay the night. There is a lot more to the “boys weekend” at the Louis XIII Versailles and I’ll let you fill in the blanks. 

His son Louis XIV first visited as a child and after his father died on May 14, 1643 Versailles was far from his mind. On the night of August 17, 1661 his superintendent of finance, Nicolas Fouquet  held a lavish party at his finished chateau, Vaux-le-Vicomte. Inviting the boss over and his 6,000 friends entertained by Moliere and Fontaine and overcome by the beauty of the property and the chateau.  A few days later, the Sun King had Fouquet arrested and then stole his artists. Architect Louis Le Vau, garden designer Andre Le Nôtre and designer and artists Charles Le Brun. In June of 1662, they would begin the construction on Versailles. 

For the rest of his life he would continue to add on to Versailles to create one of the most splendid chateaux in Europe. Upon his death on September 1, 1715 it was still incomplete and Louis XV wasn’t as in love with living outside of Paris as his great-grandfather was. He moved the government back to Paris and Vincennes and left Versailles falling into disrepair until his return. 

The days of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI are well known for frolicking in the meadow of the Hamlet and their last day of golden carefree luxury. 

Today it is one of the most popular attractions in France that was largely saved by John D Rockefeller who gave a vast fortune in thanks to France for standing by the USA through the American Revolution.  Open Tuesday - Sunday it can be reached in 30 minutes from Paris and allow an entire day to wander through the gardens and chateau. On the weekends in the summer make sure you visit to enjoy the musician fountain show and maybe even rent a row boat along the canal. 

More info and photos:
Support Claudine on Patreon and get more of Paris and all her stories and benefits like discounts on her tours, custom history and exclusive content
Join us every Sunday for a LIVE walk through Paris filled with history
Sign up for the weekly Blue Blonde Rouge newsletter 

Support the show (