• LOCATION 23 | Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens

    Wood of the Ballroom

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

    Are you ready to get down and boogie? Ease on down to the center of the scene. The oval gravel plane on which you're standing is actually a dance floor. This Ballroom Grove originally had a marble platform on which to tap your toes. The terraces facing the waterfall were for observers, or resting between turns. The pedestals and many of the ornaments are decorated with people in merry movement gesturing to get you in the mood and join them.

    Imagine a night scene. Torches provide the only light, which reflects on the waterfall tumbling over row after row of seashells, creating a magical and romantic atmosphere. The musicians, arranged in a half-circle at the top, are playing a gavotte from Lully, the Sun King's favorite composer. The couples dance about you, all synchronised together in codified steps. The frilly robes and satin tails spin around and brush you as they turn. The dancers are masked, so no one knows who's twirling who.

    Some couples break off, leaving the scene to envelop themselves in the dark recesses of a nearby wood, where their vigorous moaning is drowned out by the sounds of the orchestra and cascading water.

    When you're ready to dust off your dancing shoes, you may depart through the opposite exit. As you do, observe the group dancing scene carved on the golden vase to your upper left.

Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens