“Visitors to Versailles.” Past & present

Press release


NEW YORK, NY – April 16, 2018 | “Visitors to Versailles (1682–1789)” debuts today, April 16, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The exhibition which runs through July 29, 2018, highlights the experiences of travelers and visitors to Versailles from 1682, when Louis XIV moved there, to 1789 when the court was forced to return to Paris at the onset of the French Revolution. Close to 190 works are showcased from costumes, sculptures, paintings and furniture to carpets, period guide books, other decorative arts and a digital montage illustrating the transformation of the Palace of Versailles, from a royal hunting lodge to the magnificent “chateau” as it stands today. It is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Palace of Versailles.

The exhibition is the perfect opportunity to preview a visit not only to the actual Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) but to the charming city of Versailles itself.

Of course the iconic Château de Versailles remains magnet for today’s travelers and visitors. In 2017, the chateau welcomed 7.7 million visitors. 79% were foreign visitors and Americans the number one group among them. More than an anecdote: Benjamin Franklin was the first American to visit Versailles, received with his diplomatic by King Louis XVI to gain France’s military support for the American Revolutionary War.

The palace of Versailles is one of the greatest achievements in French 17th century art. Louis XIV, also known as the Sun king, transformed what was once a relatively small royal hunting lodge, into one of France’s most iconic sites that has been on UNESCO’s World heritage list for the past 30 years.

By moving the court to Versailles in 1682, Louis XIV also transformed the sleepy village into a remarkably elegant town, by the building of larger churches and markets and by ordering an architecturally homogenous style for the new administrative buildings and for mansions to be built for and by the court aristocrats.

A member of the association “Top French Cities,” Versailles is still today a perfect alternative to Paris, just 30 to 40 minutes away by rail or an hour by car. Versailles offers travelers and business people an elegant location with a wealth of activities including sites to visit, shopping, fine dining and entertainment in the city proper and a grand stroll down the great avenue de Paris—one of the largest in France which leads to the entrance of the palace and to its legendary gardens, stables and the Royal opera house.

Its historic districts include the Old Versailles, on the site of the medieval village acquired by Louis XIII, with its well preserved monuments like the Grand Commun constructed under Louis XIV to house the court kitchens, the Convent of the Récollets and the famed Salle du Jeu de Paume site of the French Revolution’s Tennis Court Oath. The Saint-Louis district known among things for its 18th century Cathedral of Saint Louis (1743 – 1754) and the Notre-Dame district is not only notable for its church, but for its antique stores and for Versailles’ oldest market—France’s second largest—built under the reign of Louis XIII (1601- 1643).

The city is also offers its guests a variety of different category hotels including top-flight properties like the Trianon Palace and the Le Louis, Versailles Château MGallery by Sofitel. The Versailles Tourist Office website offers a wide selection of accommodations.

One more activity and fact worth noting is that France will be hosting the Ryder cup at the Golf National late September 2018. This renowned event should put France on the map as a golf destination. The Paris region is home to some of the world’s finest golf courses and clubs and the Golf National is one of them. Just 20mn from Versailles, anyone can go and experience the Golf National’s championship course known as the Albatross, along with its two other courses.


Marion Fourestier
New York, NY 10022
United States