Over the centuries

1662 - XVIIth century

1662 : Louis XIV’s visits to Versailles

Louis XIV came more often to hunt at Versailles with his close friends or with all the court. In the late 1660s, the king decided to stay more regularly at Versailles. He instructed his architect Louis Le Vau to design an extension of the palace to provide new apartments with all the comforts, at the northern end for the king, and at the southern end for the queen.

New façades looking out over the gardens covered the small brick and stone palace, hence the name “Envelope” given to them. Resolutely modern, the cut stone façades of the “Envelope” were crowned with balustrades dissimulating the flat roofs. With their central terrace, they were inspired by the architecture of baroque Italian villas, but executed in the French manner in a perfectly classical style. The first floor, reached from the courtyard by two fine marble staircases, had two large symmetrical apartments, the King’s at the northern end and the Queen’s at the southern end, separated along the western end by a large terrace overlooking the gardens.

Arrival of Louis XIV preceded by his guardsmen at the old palace of Versailles in 1669, Adam Frans Van der Meulen (1632-1690), Versailles, châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon © RMN (Château de Versailles) / Gérard Blot

Louis XIV approaching Versailles