The State Apartments of Versailles
Versailles Museum is known throughout the world as the most famous palace in the world, the residence of the Louis the XIV, the Sun King. The visitors of Versailles Palace have a chance to admire the State Apartments of Louis XIV and well known Hall of Mirrors.
The Grand Apartments (also referred to as the State Apartments) include King’s and Queen’s apartments.
The construction of the Hall of Mirrors coincided with a major alteration to the State Apartments. They were originally intended as his residence, but the King transformed them into galleries for his finest paintings, and venues for his many receptions for courtiers. This prestigious series of seven rooms were parade apartments, used for hosting the sovereign’s official acts.
During the day, the State Apartments were open to all who wished to see the king and the royal family passing through on their way to the chapel.
During the reign of Louis XIV, evening gatherings were held here several times a week.
The various entertainments were usually held three times a week, from six to ten in the evening.
The queen’s apartments formed parallel with that of the king’s apartments.
The King’s State Apartments consisted of seven rooms, each dedicated to one of the known planets and their associated titular Greek Mythology.
The Salon of Hercules
This was originally a chapel. It was rebuilt as a showcase for the painting Meal at the House of Simon the Pharisee by Paolo Veronese, which was a gift to Louis XIV from the Republic of Venice in 1664. The painting on the ceiling, The Apotheosis of Hercules, by François Lemoyne, was completed in 1712, and gave the room its name.
The Salon of Abundance
The Salon of Abundance was the antechamber to the Cabinet of Curios (now the Games Room), which displayed Louis XIV’s collection of precious jewels and rare objects. Some of the objects in the collection are depicted in painting Abundance and Liberality (1683), located on the ceiling over the door opposite the windows.
The Salon of Venus
This salon was used for serving light meals during evening receptions. The principal feature in this room is life-size statue of Louis XIV in the costume of a Roman emperor.
The paintings and sculpture around the ceiling illustrate mythological themes.
The Salon of Mercury
The Salon of Mercury was the original State Bedchamber when Louis XIV officially moved the court and government to the Palace in 1682.
The bed is a replica of the original commissioned by King Louis-Philippe in the 19th century when he turned the Palace into a Museum.
The ceiling paintings depict the god Mercury in his chariot, drawn by a rooster surrounded by scholars and philosophers.
The Salon of Mars
Th Salon of Mars was used by the royal guards until 1782, and was decorated on a military theme with helmets and trophies.
It was turned into a concert room with galleries for musicians on either side.
The Salon of Apollo
The Salon of Apollo was the royal throne room under Louis XIV, and was the setting for formal audiences. The eight-foot high silver throne was melted down in 1689 to help pay the costs of an expensive war, and was replaced by a more modest throne of gilded wood.
The central painting on the ceiling depicts the Sun Chariot of Apollo, the King’s favorite emblem, pulled by four horses and surrounded by the four seasons.
The Salon of Diana
The Salon of Diana was used by Louis XIV as a billiards room, and had galleries from which courtiers could watch him play. The decoration of the walls and ceiling depicts scenes from the life of the goddess Diana.
The Queen’s apartments and the King’s Apartments were laid out on the same design, each suite having seven rooms. Both suites had ceilings painted with scenes from mythology; the King’s ceilings featured male figures, the Queen’s featured females.
The queen’s apartments served as the residence of three queens of France – Marie-Thérèse d’Autriche, wife of Louis XIV, Marie Leczinska, wife of Louis XV, and Marie-Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI. Additionally, Louis XIV’s granddaughter-in-law, Princess Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy, duchesse de Bourgogne, wife of the Petit Dauphin, occupied these rooms from 1697 (the year of her marriage) to her death in 1712.