Louis XIV Bed Chamber at Versailles
N 48° 48.332 E 002° 07.064
31U E 435218 N 5406213
Quick Description: When the king (Louis XV) personally received Franklin in his Bedchamber in 1778, the American came away with little more than encouraging words.
Date Posted: 10/15/2006 11:35:53 AM
Waymark Code: WMVA0
Louis XIV's bedchamber occupied the exact centre of the chateau from 1701 onward. It was a key setting for events in the Sun King's day and was arranged to reflect this ceremonial function. A gilded wood baluster separated public space from private space; the alcove, where the bed is set, was a place reserved for the monarch alone. The decoration is particularly rich, comprised not only of gilded woodwork and heavy brocade embroidered in gold (restored in 1980), but also paintings by the finest artists. These paintings by Le Valentin, Van Dyck, Domenichino, and Lanfranco were chosen by the king himself and set into the wood panelling, indicating how the most valued pieces in the royal collection were integrated into the decor.
Back in 1759, Louis XV had declared, 'Every part of the world has played its role in turn. Soon it will be America's turn!' In 1766, Benjamin Franklin was received enthusiastically in France, but the independence of the American colonies was not yet in the air. When, ten years later, the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in Philadelphia, Louis XVI hesitated should he back the movement (as recommended by his foreign minister, Vergennes) or remain aloof for economic reasons (as advised by his finance minister, Turgot)? When the king personally received Franklin in his Bedchamber in 1778, the American came away with little more than encouraging words. The following year, however, La Fayette temporarily returned to France and persuaded the king to commit French military forces. A lasting friendship between the two countries was born, strengthened by Thomas Jefferson's ambassadorship to France.
Location Type: Building
Reference Web Site: [Web Link]
Property Type: Public
Fee required: yes
By train :
RER ligne C
from Montparnasse station
train SNCF direction Versailles-Chantiers
from Saint-Lazare station
train SNCF direction Versailles-rive-droite
The Palace is open every day except
Mondays, on certain French public
holidays, or when official ceremonies
4 July to 31 October 2006
9am to 6.30pm
last admission: 6pm
1 November 2006 to 31 March 2007
9am to 5.30pm
last admission: 5pm
Established Date: Not listed
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