• LOCATION 5 | Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens

    From Paris to Versailles

    Before turning right here, please stop and look to your left. At the north west corner of the terrace just above the Orange Grove where the balustrade curves in a quarter-circle, is a spot I'd like you to remember for later. I'll have a bonus for you at the end of the tour, which is found underneath this location.

    For now, turn right and leave the Parterre du Midi on your right as you walk towards the two pools of water in front of the Palace. Meanwhile, I'll explain why the king moved from Paris to Versailles.

    A childhood trauma instilled a deep-seated need for safety in the young Louis XIV. When the king was only 11 years old, an angry mob of protesters broke into the Royal Palace in Paris at night where Louis was staying with his mother, the regent Queen Anne. The mob demanded to see the king and busted into his bedroom. This incident was known as the 'Fronde.'

    Louis feared for his life, and rightly so. Just 40 years earlier, his predecessor Henry IV had been assassinated on the streets of Paris less than a kilometer away by a protestor.

    Louis forever remembered how vulnerable he was at that time. He vowed never again to allow himself to be so exposed in the bullseye of a giant rebellious city like Paris. As soon as he was able, he moved his administration here to the countryside.

    You will make a diagonal right up ahead.

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