The King’s Animals, the wild exhibition at the Palace of Versailles - our pictures

Published by Cécile D. · Photos by Cécile D. · Updated on 12 October 2021 at 10h33 · Published on 8 October 2021 at 11h40
Hound dogs and prancers, hens and sheep, birds and rabbits… The Palace of Versailles could be home for more animals than humans! From October 12, 2021 to February 13, 2022, discover “The King’s Animals” exhibition.

Pets or wild animals, rare or exotic species, and even mythologic bestiary… Animals have had a major place in the Palace of Versailles during the Ancien Régime. On the occasion of an exclusive exhibition co-curated with the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles offers us to discover thousands of animals that used to live in the palace and its estate.

From October 12, 2021 to February 13, 2022, animal lovers are expected at the castle of the Sun King to visit the great “The King’s Animals” exhibition.

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Paintings, sculptures, tapestries, naturalized animals, china, vellums, sledges, goldsmithery… Over 300 works depict the major spot of animals in the palace of Versailles. All works come from collections from all over the World (the Louvre, the National Museum of Natural History, Florence Uffizi, Pavia University History Museum…) and are gathered together in a complete and never-before-seen display.

Hunt or game companions, cattle, state or war horses… In the Ancien Régime, many animals are very useful to their masters, especially if they are the King of France. But animals are not only limited to what they bring: dogs, cats and birds are highly coveted pets, and very loved by their owners. Proof of it: the kings’ favorite dogs were often immortalized, with their names written in golden letters. This exhibition enables then to meet Misse, Turly, Tane, Blonde, Diane and even Général aka Louis XV’s cat.

Although court inhabitants are more into cats and dogs, some stand out as they keep quite exotic pets by their side. The richness and extravaganza of the life at court can be specifically seen at the Ménagerie Royale that Louis XIV lays out by the Grand Canal.

There, the king’s formidable collection is displayed and he was very proud of it. Monkey, coati, quagga, cassowary, black crowned crane and rare animals live together.

Les animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photosLes animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photosLes animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photosLes animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photos

The Sun King’s court also houses intense animal activists. The exhibition shines a light on the evolution of believes and scientific breakthroughs at that time: unlike the popular cartesian theory saying animals are like machines, namely lacking consciousness or thoughts, the inhabitants of the Palace of Versailles claims animals have a soul and feelings just like humans do.

The “The King’s Animals” exhibition gives special pride of place to science that was paying a lot of attention to animals. Then, you will discover how the Academic of Sciences used to dissect, engrave and naturalize animals. Pride of place is given to Louis XV’s naturalized female elephant, as well as the first elephant in Versailles’s skeleton, a female given to Louis XIV by the King of Portugal.

Last but not least, the magical bestiary of Versailles is not left out. In the Latona Fountain and the Maze, sculptures of fantastic animals from Aesop’s Fables look over visitors.

Les animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photosLes animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photosLes animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photosLes animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photos

The Palace of Versailles delivers a magnificent exhibition to see with your family: the staging and the total immersion in the exhibition area are breathtaking. The hunting chapter is very impressive, with an unrecognizable room and a soft atmosphere to deliver a pleasant one-on-one with works of art.

Thanks to the multiple and varied works displayed, one can fully grasp the importance these animals had at the Court although this is the very first time they are given pride of place this way. Portraits of nobles posing with their favorite animal are very moving as they seem timeless: one can find the same pictures of our four-legged friends on social networks.

Les animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photosLes animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photosLes animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photosLes animaux du Roi, une exposition qui a du chien au Château de Versailles - nos photos

Do not miss this original exhibition enabling us to discover the Court of the King through the eyes of thousands of small four-legged inhabitants.

Until November 7, you can also discover animals by the Lalannes, these playful and poetic sculptures put here and there in the Trianon garden.

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
From 12 October 2021 to 13 February 2022

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    Location

    Place d'Armes
    78000 Versailles

    Prices
    - de 26 ans: Free
    billet château tarif réduit: €13
    billet château plein tarif: €18
    Passeport journée: €27

    Official website
    www.chateauversailles.fr

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