Social event

Versailles Palace & Louis XIV Patron of Science

Louis XIV during the fifty-five years of his personal reign (1661-1715) created the institutional foundations for the science and technology of France. These institutions were outwardly an attempt both to meet the needs of the French state for technical advice and to provide professional scientists with the necessary support for pure scientific research. By the end of the seventeenth century, Louis XIV and his ministers set French science and technology on the high road of success for the duration of the eighteenth century.
The institutions of science and technology took several forms. The Royal Academy of Sciences was established in 1666. Within the Ministry of the Navy and Colonies, several technical advisory bureaus were created, among them the Bureau of Maps and Plans in 1696. A large corps of professional engineers emerged within the Service of Fortifications in the 1670s and 1680s. Of these institutions, the Royal Academy of Sciences was preeminent in terms of its research in the sciences and the advisory role it assumed for the major technological enterprises of the government.
Louis XIV and the first Royal Academy of Sciences established by Colber
Louis XIV Patron of Arts & Science

Landscape Geometer of Versailles : Le Nôtre’s Geometric Architecture of Versailles Palace Gardens or the Apex of “Le Jardin à la française”

André Le Nôtre (12 March 1613 – 15 September 1700) was a French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France. Most notably, he was the landscape architect who designed the park of the Palace of Versailles, and his work represents the height of the French formal garden style, or jardin à la française. Prior to working on Versailles, Le Nôtre collaborated with Louis Le Vau and Charles Le Brun on the park at Vaux-le-Vicomte. His other works include the design of gardens and parks at Chantilly, Fontainebleau, Saint-Cloud and Saint-Germain. His contribution to planning was also significant: at the Tuileries he extended the westward vista, which later became the avenue of the Champs-Élysées and comprise the Axe historique.
The geometric architecture and complex structure of the gardens designed by Le Nôtre, the multiple points of view and the criss-crossing perspectives create a visual kaleidoscope.
Gardens simultaneously fulfill the functions of productivity and image. In a garden, esthetics and economics cannot be separated. In this way their installation brings into play an ensemble of techniques. Earthworks, hydraulics, arboriculture, horticulture and optics can be counted among the principal fields of competency required for the composition of a garden.
André Le Nôtre:
The Garden geometer of Louis XIV
French Garden Style of ‘Jardin à la française

Scientific instruments from the reign of Louis XIV to Louis XVI

In Louvre Museum , the Department of Decorative Arts’ collections offer a broad panorama of interior design, production from major manufactories, crafts, and the art trade, primarily French in character, from the reign of Louis XIV up to the French Revolution. In 1979, Mrs Nicolas Landau endowed the museum of a collection of scientific instruments, until then almost non-existent in the Louvre, and the library of the hotel of Villemaré-Dangé is now dedicated to the works of art of the XVIIIth century, and in particular of, fitted out in Scientific Cabinet, dedicated to the presentation of scientific instruments used from Louis XIV to Louis XVI. This collection of 120 technical and scientific valuable objects, in particular in the field of the mathematics, of the physics, of the time measurement and of the astronomy redraws a whole century of history, from 1660 till 1760.
This scientific cabinet of Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson counts among the most famous of the XVIIIth century. Housed in a Parisian mansion, this cabinet was decorated by the painter Lajoue and represented by J.B. The young person Courtonne. He contained a set of instruments, real inventory of the sciences and the techniques of the Age of the Enlightenment, today preserved in the Louvre. The scientific instruments of the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries are rare objects, to the searched invoice, the gathering of which within amateurs' toilets was a central phenomenon of the curiosity and the history of the taste. Through the presentation of four instruments of the scientific collections of the department of Works of art show themselves the practice and the concerns of the amateurs and the researchers of the XVIIIth century in France. Investigate the earth, measure the time, contemplate the sky, understand the material: in these initiatives are reflected some of the big philosophic stakes in the Age of the Enlightenment.

The first aerostatic flight at Versailles Palace (1783)

In 1783 the Montgolfier brothers conducted an experiment at Versailles: the first aerostatic flight in history. Man’s age-old dream of soaring through the air finally came true !
19 September 1783 is a key date in the history of humanity. Man had wanted to fly since Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century. The Age of Enlightenment saw that dream come true at last: in 1782 Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier, who were born in Ardéche, started a series of experiments using fabrics inflated by hot air from a fire of wool and wet straw. The demonstration drew notice from the Royal Academy of Sciences, which asked them to repeat the experiment in Paris.
In 1783 Jacques-Etienne made his first conclusive test with a captive balloon, which he repeated a week before the demonstration in front of the king at Versailles. The balloon was torn and had to be quickly mended. It was made of cotton glued with paper on both sides and measured 18.47 metres high and 13.28 metres wide and weighed 400 kg. It was called Le Reveillon, the name of his friend Jean-Baptiste Reveillon, director of the royal wallpaper factory, which had made a décor with an azure blue ground featuring the king’s monogram – two entwined L’s – and various ornamental motifs, all of them gilded.
The demonstration took place in the château’s crowded forecourt with Louis XVI and the royal family in attendance. When a canon boomed at one o’clock, a sheep, a duck and a rooster were put into a round wicker basket hanging from the balloon by a rope. Eleven minutes later the cannon boomed again, signalling that the balloon was ready to take off. It rose 500 metres up into the air to the astounded audience’s cheers. Damaged by a tear, it slowly descended eight minutes later after travelling 3.5 kilometres, landing at the carrefour Maréchal in the bois de Vaucresson.
Pilâtre de Rozier, a physicist and future aeronaut, gathered the animals. They were alive. The experiment was a success, clearing the way to the first manned flight. Louis XVI pensioned off the animals at the Versailles menagerie as a reward for their service. On 21 November the Montgolfier brothers repeated the experiment, this time with Pilâtre de Rozier aboard, before the dauphin at the Château de La Muette, turning a page in the history of humanity.


Social Event

Gala Dinner on October 29th 20:30

in “La petite Venise” Restaurant at the heart of Versailles Palace Gardens in front of « Grand Canal »: