From the very start of his reign, Louis Philippe I decided to transform the Palace of Versailles and open it to the public. He understood that the Versailles of Louis XIV was a myth that could only be preserved by turning it into a museum devoted, as the inscription on the pavilion pediments says, “to all the glories of France".
Relentlessly, the king monitored the work of his architect, Frédéric Nepveu, for fifteen years. Work was carried out around the royal residence, in the heart of the palace and in the North and South wings, resulting in the Historic Galleries devoted to the battles of the Middle Ages, the Crusades, the Revolution and Empire wars, and the conquest of Algeria. A history built upon a thousand tales. Indeed, instead of denying the past, Louis Philippe I preferred to dialogue with it: the new Versailles opposed that of Louis XIV, bringing the Gallery of Battles into conflict with the Hall of Mirrors amid a rivalry for richly decorated magnificence. The king had a passion for new techniques and did not hesitate to bring to 17th-century architecture the metal and glass structures that would provide zenithal lighting to the Gallery of Battles and the Africa Rooms.
The Versailles of Louis Philippe I, with its eclecticism, its complexity and its sense of the arbitrary, is the Versailles that we know today.
with Editions Somogy
Product dimensions: 24 x 30 cm, 400 pages
ISBN: 978 2 75721 361-2