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King's Chamber

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These rooms, which overlook the Marble Court, were often the site of ceremonies and special meals. Royal staff, such as guards and servants, were also housed in this area.

The chambers include a vestibule (the Salon of Diana), a guard room (the Salon of Mars), an antechamber (the Salon of Mercury), the Salons of Venus and of Abundance, and a bedroom (Salon of Apollo). Many of these rooms were used for public gatherings, such as meals.

Decently dressed citizens could come to the palace to watch the royals eat their dinner. Louis-Auguste ate heartily, but Marie Antoinette ate very little at these public dining events. The King’s bedroom occupied the exact center of the chateau from 1701 onward. A gilded wood baluster separates the king's space from that of the public, and the bed is set in an alcove reserved for the king alone.

In front of the bed is a gold railing behind which the courtiers gathered to assist with the king’s awakening and bedtime ceremonies.   As a public person, the king had no private space.  In entering Versailles a visitor did not get a glimpse of the private life of the rich and powerful; instead, visitors entered the public space defined by the presence of the king.

The decoration throughout the room is exceptionally elaborate and rather old-fashioned, with hand-carved woodwork and heavy brocade, as well as priceless paintings by Le Valentin, Van Dyck, Domenichino, and Lanfranco. Louis XV and Louis XVI installed a second fireplace, elaborate mantles for both fireplaces, and the fireplace mirrors.   The massive, heavy furniture and serious history paintings were meant to impress and even overawe visitors.

After the bedroom, there is a string of smaller, more private apartments. Under Louis XV and Louis XVI, these rooms were fashioned into a small suite where the king worked, relaxed, and dined. They also reflect the kings’ pastimes and interests, offering space for studying geography, reading literature, and doing wood, iron and ivory handicrafts.

Royal Life

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