A warrior monarch and a keen traveller, Peter the Great journeyed all over the world over nearly four decades, from the White Sea to the Caspian Sea, from Holland to Moldavia, from England to Persia. He undertook two long journeys to western Europe, the first in 1697-1698 and the second twenty years later in 1716-1717.
During his second trip Peter I stayed in France for two months from April to June 1717. Just two years after the death of Louis XIV, he discovered the most populated kingdom in the West, met the young Louis XV, negotiated with the Regent Philippe of Orléans and met statesmen, scholars, technicians and artists.
Driven by his insatiable curiosity, Peter I visited palaces and manufactures, fortifications and libraries, churches and academies. He travelled the streets of Paris on foot or in a fiacre and visited all the royal residences in Île-de-France: Versailles, Trianon, Marly, Saint-Germain and Fontainebleau. Peter I and his entourage bought books, objets d’art and scientific instruments which they took back to Russia along with diplomatic gifts from the French government.
Visits and discussions with the French people provided food for thought for the reforming Tsar and had an influence on the works he began in 1703 in Saint-Petersburg and the surrounding area.
This catalogue and the exhibition it accompanies commemorate the 300th anniversary of the journey in 1717: the encounter between an old kingdom and a growing empire, a founding act of cultural exchange between Russia and France.
Authors: edited by Gwenola Firmin, Francine-Dominique Liechtenhan and Thierry Sarmant
Publisher: Palace of Versailles / Lienart
Number of pages: 240 pages
Date of publication: 25 May 2017
Dimensions: 24 x 28 cm