Open to the public, listed among the most popular and visited monuments in the world, the Palace of Versailles and its vast gardens have not revealed all their secrets. Indeed, more than 200 rooms are closed to the public and all together tell lesser-known stories. Admittedly, during guided tours, some of these places are open to the public but they nevertheless remain confidential.
1. Louis XVI’s wardrobe
Closed to the public because of its small size, this room is located next to the alcove of the king’s bedroom. If you can’t see its entrance, it’s simply hidden behind a curtain. And if its name could suggest that the monarch came to dress there, it is not so. Well, yes, he could come and dress there, but above all he used this hyper-private corner to work in peace. A wooden toilet seat is also installed.
2. The monolith tank
A large Rance marble tank weighing several tons which is in fact one of the rare vestiges of an apartment once fitted out by Louis XIV to take his baths quietly. This secret place is located in the rotunda of the Orangerie. It seems that he used this richly decorated sanctuary to find Madame de Montespan, of whom he was totally in love.
3. The sculpture reserve
The estate of Versailles houses several reserves of sculptures. Because not all of them are exhibited in buildings and gardens, far from it. In particular, there is a magnificent set of lead animal sculptures that were previously placed in the Grove of the labyrinth. However, the reserve in question has only 35 rooms out of the 300 that once included the Grove of the labyrinth. The others have simply disappeared into the limbo of great history.
4. The antechamber of the Grand Couvert
It is here that the King took sustenance in the company of his court. Only the Duchesses were allowed to sit. The others had to watch the king eat. This room had access to the boudoir of Marie-Josèphe de Saxe and to the apartments of Madame de Maintenon.
5. The boudoir of Maria Joseph of Saxony
This is where Marie-Josèphe de Saxony came to train on the saxophone (lol). Unchanged since the latter’s death, this piece is one of the few that Marie-Antoinette did not touch when she moved into the castle. It is a rather small space, painted yellow. Only three people could enter it at the same time.
6. Pauline de Tourzel’s apartment
When she arrived in Versailles, Pauline de Tourzel, 15, stayed in this three-room apartment located under Marie-Antoinette’s apartment. Her role was to take care of the children of the royal couple.
7. The deer yard
Particularly decorated with busts of deer, this inner courtyard was used to allow the king’s hunting dogs to let off steam.
8. The underground passages of Versailles
The estate of Versailles hides 35 km of pipes that supply the basins and fountains. It is from here that during the summer season, an entire team works to operate the cranks of the famous water wonderland.
9. The oldest staircase in the castle
Dating from Louis XIII, this spiral staircase gave access to the apartments of Count Axel de Fersen. He offered the latter the possibility of joining the queen. It is said that he would have used this more or less secret passage in particular to try to save Marie-Antoinette just before her execution.
10. The attic library
It is here, in the midst of nearly 16,000 books, that King Louis XVI came to work. It is also here that he played the little chemist, one of his great passions.