Visiting the Chateau de Versailles with Julia, marked my first return to the interior of this magnificent palace in a few years. Since my last visit, considerable restoration has taken place.
To honor architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and commemorate his work on the 300th anniversary of his death, a massive restoration of the roof is underway. I love the over-the-top Baroque elements on this portion of the Chateau. The multi-colored façade features brick, stone, slate, marble, gilded lead and sculpted décor. The ornamentation is splendid - it exudes opulence and it reminds me a bit of the Flemish architecture that is so prevalent in Lille.

The restoration and re-guilding is being done from the center of the Chateau outward. The work is almost complete. In the upper right hand corner of the photo above, one can see the difference between the "before and after" of the this project. The entire roof was dark and grey, it now glistens like a royal crown.
The royal chapel sits to the right of the main portion of the chateau. It was also designed by Mansart, who died in 1708, while it was under construction. Mansart's brother-in-law, Robert de Cotte, completed the project on his behalf.
An interior view of the royal chapel, where courtiers and the royal family attended mass daily.
During my last visit, the ceiling of the coronation room was being cleaned and restored. The scaffolding has since been removed, revealing the work of French painter Francois Le Moyne, who depicted the Triumph of Hercules on ceiling. Above the fireplace is Venetian painter Paolo Veronese's depiction of Rebecca at the Well.

The Hall of Mirrors is probably everyone's favorite room in the Chateau. Julia and I were delighted to visit this room just prior to closing. It was completely empty and we could fully appreciate the enormous crystal chandeliers, the beautifully laid parquetry floor and masterfully executed paintings by Charles Le Brun. How often does that happen?

A view of the grounds from the Hall of Mirrors. Marie-Antoinette may have stood at this very spot, gazing at the gardens and the grand canal beyond. This is my "pinch me" moment.
The Queen's bed chamber, which is adorned with rich tapestries in pastel colors.
The King's bed chamber, adorned in deep shades of red and green. The bedrooms the King and Queen contain a "lit Baldaquin." The term used to describe the elaborate half-canopy, which features rich tapestries suspended from a carved and guilded frame. Both are topped with ostrich feather festoons.


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