• LOCATION 25 | Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens

    Bacchus fountain

    Bacchus fountain on Versailles, Yvelines audio tour Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens

    It's seasonal guessing time again. Bunches of grapes abound around a central figure with a mischevious grin. Little Goat-footed satyrss are in various states of revelry or passed out from an excess of alcohol. Here are party people!

    This is Bacchus, the good-time god of wine, divine madness and religious ecstasy. Imagine yourself sipping a glass of red or rosé as you salute him. As grapes in the Northern hemisphere are typically picked in September or October, Bacchus symbolises Autumn.

    You may turn your back on Bacchus as I tell you more. Keep the Wood of the Ball on your right and walk back to the plain where we saw Latona.

    Many grandes fêtes were celebrated here in Versailles, most often out-of-doors, commencing by the toast 'à boire pour le Roi,' or 'drink for the king.' It wasn't unusual to host thousands of guests over several days. Each feast had a theme, with accompanying costumes, art and sometimes a fireworks display. If that wasn't enough, three times a week year-round, concerts and theatre played at the Palace.

    All this entertainment, in addition to the construction which came before, cost an enormous amount of money - money the king didn't have. The subjects were carved an ever smaller slice of the cake. It's said that Louis XIV built Versailles, Louis XV enjoyed it, and Louis XVI paid for it - with his head.

    Pause at the second statue on your left.

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Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens