14 June 1940. The Wehrmacht invaded the Palace of Versailles. Through the symbolic significance of this event, Hitler fulfilled his dream of revenge. During the following four years, thousands of soldiers strode through the Hall of Mirrors and trod the gardens designed by Le Nôtre, while weather conditions, bombs, shortages, looting and vandalism endangered this national jewel and the last masterpieces it housed.
In preparation for the worst, a large-scale protection plan had been elaborated in the 1930s. From September 1939 onwards, as many things as possible were concealed, starting with the Grand Canal which was completely dried out. In the panic of the exodus, collections and decoration were evacuated to other châteaux elsewhere in France, including Chambord, Brissac, Sourches, Serrant and Voré. Most of these precious gems thus survived “outside of Versailles” until the end of the war.
This work reveals in detail the daily life full of fears and hopes of a handful of men and women aware of the absolute necessity of protecting a unique heritage.
with Editions Vendémiaire
Product dimensions: 14.5 x 20 cm, 380 pages