Secrets of Versailles. The Palace and Beyond

The Chateau de Versailles covers over 200,000 square meters. It is one of the best-known heritage sites in the world comparable to such icons as the Taj Mahal and Beijing’s Forbidden City. Versailles was the center of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the French monarchy.

The author, art historian Nicolas Jacquet, makes the facades and sumptuous decor of this magnificent palace come alive with brief historical vignettes accompanying photographs that evoke the stories of the men and women who lived there. Here we learn about such things as hidden passageways and secret staircases, an amazing “Room of Beauties,” an eighteenth-century clock programed to work until 9999,  a giant underground water tank, enigmatic female sphinces and more. We not only learn about kings and queens, but the fascinating story of the people whose job it was to keep the machinery of this great edifice going.

Published by Parigramme (19 euros). Info: