Parquetry de Versailles

Sometimes, while writing my blog, I become frustrated. My frustration stems from feeling as if I am failing in my effort to capture and express what I experience. I am having such a moment right now. It is impossible for me to express the magnificence of the Chateau de Versailles - everything in it and everything about it is a work of art.
The few photos and comments posted yesterday do not begin to convey the history, quality, workmanship and beauty of this palace. Perhaps, I can best illustrate this fact by talking about the floors.
First of all, they are not just any floors. They are "le parquetry de Versailles" - handcrafted wood planks installed in an elaborate pattern, designed by a cabinet-maker for Louis XIV for this palace.
In the late 17th century, it became fashionable to have hardwood floors. Rugs were thought to attract and retain dirt and people no longer wanted them in their homes. The manner in which hardwood floors were installed varied throughout Europe. It is only natural that Louis XIV would have something unique and something magnificient. The pattern and application would become known as Parquetry de Versailles.
Parquetry de Versailles is much more complex than something like a traditional herringbone pattern. It is comprised of a series of frames or compartments which contain more than 40 small dimpled square pieces of wood that form a criss-crossed, basket weave pattern. Each piece was hand-crafted and joined with tongue and groove and mortise and tenon pegs. To further complicate the configuration, Parquetry de Versailles is set on the diagonal and installed within a narrow border that runs parallel to the walls.

I realize that the photo does not clearly show the detail of the pattern or the polish of its finish, but I had no idea that write about the floors and this is the best photo I could pull from my collection. It looks rather unimpressive, until it is seen in its entirety.

Walking on these floors is like walking on a piece of furniture - no squeaking, no loose planks, no knot holes. They are fit for a king!


juplife said…
versailles is one of my favorite places in france. i went three times during my stay. love it.

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