The dark secrets of the most emblematic palace in the world

Details you will not find in any travel guide to the Palace of Versailles

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Although no monarch lived in it since the French Revolution, the Palace of Versailles - UNESCO World Heritage Site - remains a living testimony to the rich and very interesting, five centuries of French history.

It was in 1682 that Louis XIV turned his father's hunting lodge into the center of the French government, while today the famous 14th-century palace in the French countryside, about 17 minutes from Paris, functions as a museum, attracting more than three million visitors. annually.

In an area of ​​75.000 square meters - equivalent to about 15 football fields! - which has 2.300 rooms and impressive, magnificent gardens, the grandeur is hidden in the details and stories that few know about the palace.

Secret passages and unknown aspects of its strong heritage Louis, in what "dark" secrets characterize the history of the French monarchy. Discover below, then, some of the secrets of the iconic palace that no travel guide will reveal to you.

Versailles was a dirty place

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In the 17th century its meaning cleanliness and personal hygiene was not like the one we have in mind today. More specifically, a historian comments in the documentary "Versailles' dirty secrets- Toute L'Histoire", an interesting historical and highly revealing route in the "dark" secrets of Versailles, that "cleanliness at that time was mainly about clean breathing and do not smell your feet ".

According to legend, Louis XIV bathed only once in his entire life, under pressure from his advisers. Historical evidence, however, indicates that the king's body was bleeding at various points - an expected skin reaction to eliminate toxins that had accumulated inside him from sweating and chronic lavage.

However, as the speakers of the documentary comment, at that time it was not common for a king to wash and for this reason there were no corresponding spaces in the palace so that its inhabitants could do swimming. In order to meet their above need, the members of the royal family mostly visited outdoor spaces that functioned like today's spas, where they met their friends and especially their mistresses.

The secret, however, of both the nobles living in the palace and the king to maintain a certain clean appearance, was to change clothes several times during the day. Later, the development of perfumery helped in this, which contributed in a catalytic way to the fight against bad smells.

Another characteristic of Versailles is the fact that during most of the reign of Louis XIV in palace was under construction. For about 40 years, then, the palace was a kind of construction site with dust dominating everywhere and "mountains" of dirt and building materials to give way to the polished floors and green areas that today the visitor of Versailles faces. .

The problem of prostitution and the measures of Louis XIV

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Η prostitution was a real hoarse for the time of Louis XIV, as the forests beyond the ornate gardens of the palace served as a "workplace" for the prostitutes of the time. He was not particularly fond of the whole philosophy of prostitution, although it was legitimate for him to have mistresses. The reason for setting specific boundaries in the palace was the fact that its workers often fell ill, delaying the procedures for the completion of the palace.

Thus, he excluded prostitutes from the protection of the law, without this meaning that this act brought him the desired results. Things remained the same, forcing him to take tougher measures. As he did. He therefore enacted a law according to which the prostitutes who will be arrested from now on will be flogged in public, while their clients would lose their noses and ears.

Although the measure was difficult to implement - Versailles was huge and the Swiss guard patrolling the area was not enough - the prostitutes "moved" to "special hotels" in Versailles and Paris. The specific places, in fact, brought an external laurel wreath, in order for the customers to distinguish them.

Unknown elements for some of the palace halls

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Mirror Room

Formerly known as the Grand Gallery, the Mirror Room was one of its most sophisticated rooms. palace. It was used by the courtiers as a meeting place, while the king in order to reach the chapel passed through it on a daily basis.

Royal Opera

Although the design of the Royal Opera House took 20 years to complete, its creation took only two years, as special pressure was put on it to be ready before Ludovic's wedding to Marie Antoinette. This room was used about 40 times before the French Revolution, as its cost was quite high. To illuminate the entire room, at least 3.000 candles were needed for a single night.

Hercules living room

The largest of all the living rooms of the palace, covered with striking red and green marbles, hosted various large events, such as the one for the daughter of Louis XV. Due to the large number of guests and the countless candles that were lit in order to "illuminate" the room, the staff had to break the windows to decongest the space from the heat.

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Royal Chapel

The extremely impressive and majestic door leading to the first floor of the royal chapel, allowed the king direct access from his private apartments. Although the various officials and officers watched the service from the side seats, only the royal family entered through the door that "looked" directly to the church organ and the sanctuary of the temple.

Diana Living Room

He was nicknamed the "Applause Room" because it was the room where Louis XIV practiced his excellent billiards every night after dinner, faithfully following his doctor's instructions.