• LOCATION 74 | Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens

    Venus crouching

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

    This sculpture is called 'Venus crouching.' The figure opposite her is likewise bending, prone and looking in the direction of the Palace. Although Venus is considered the most beautiful of all beings, here, at the level of the Palace, she is humbled.

    Man becomes enlightened through the accumulation of knowledge, or 'savoir-faire,' 'how to do things,' which helps in scientific invention and every other vocation. When you've reached the seat of government, you are at the top, and all that you've learned can be channeled into action, for the glory of France, of course.

    These gardens are meant to demonstrate man's mastery over nature, a gift to us from the almighty. But we are not only skin and bone and the sum of the sweat of our labor. We must also cultivate our artistic sensibility, which feeds the soul, and our observance of religious practices, contributing to 'savoir-être' or 'how to be.'

    Walk forward with the Palace on your left. The king would like to observe if you can resist one final temptation.

    Before you reach the end of the first pool, glance left at the bronze statue at ground level with his robes about his left arm. This is of course the mythological hero that Louis XIV wanted to most emulate, Apollo.

    Feel free to pause the tour here if you'd like a second breathtaking view of the royal perspective, looking in the direction of the Grand Canal. It's a truly remarkable sight and you'll never see another like it anywhere.

    Resume walking in the same southerly direction as before. At the corner of the Palace, continue straight and look slightly left for the two Sphinx. Go up to the rightmost one.

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