|Prices and Hours of
Tuesday to Sunday, except on certain French
public holidays May-September 9 a.m. – 6.30 p.m Ocotber-April
9a.m.-5.30p.m.State Apartments :
admission price : 18 and over : 7€50Guided visit of the King’s Chamber (audiotour) :
1h00 : admission price + 4€ (26F24)Le Grand Trianon et le Petit Trianon :
combined ticket : 18 and over : 5€
The parc and the gardens :
open every day except in bad weather
from 7 a.m. in summer, until sunset (between 5.30
p.m. and 9.30 p.m. depending on the season)
Gardens : Admission : 3€
The Coach Museum :
Referring to Louis XIV, the Duc de Saint-Simon wrote, 'with an almanac and a
watch, even at a distance of three hundred leagues, you could say precisely
what he was doing'. A king's day had to be perfectly timed so that the
officers serving the monarch knew exactly what they should do, when, and
how. The court was regulated like clockwork.
8.30 am: 'It is time, Sire', declares the First Valet de Chambre, waking the
king. The levee, or ceremonial rising, thus begins. Doctors, family and a
few favoured friends successively enter the King's Bedchamber where he is
washed, combed, andÑevery other dayÑshaven. The Officers of the Chamber and
the Wardrobe then enter in turn for full levee, during which the king is
dressed and has a breakfast of broth. The most important officials of the
kingdom are admitted; it is estimated that the usual number of people
attending numbered one hundred, all male.
10 am: On leaving the king's apartment, a procession forms in the Hall of
Mirrors. The king leads the procession of courtiers through the Grand
Apartment. The public can now see the king and even petition him with a
written request. In the Chapel Royal, the king occupies the tribune. Mass
lasts roughly thirty minutes. The choir known as the Chapel Music, famous
throughout Europe, always sings new music composed by Lully, Lalande, and
11 am: Returning to his apartments, the king holds council in his cabinet.
Sundays and Wednesdays are devoted to Councils of State; on Tuesdays and
Saturdays, finances are dealt with; Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, another
Council of State might replace a Dispatch Council (domestic affairs) or
Religious Council, or perhaps the king will decide to focus on his building
programme. Five or six ministers usually advise the monarch who speaks
little, listens a great deal, and always decides.
1 pm: The king dines alone in his bedchamber, at a table facing the windows.
This meal is theoretically private, but Louis XIV admits the men at court,
making attendance similar to the levee.
Promenade or Hunting
2 pm: The king always announces the afternoon programme in the morning. If
he has decided on a promenade, it might be taken on foot in the gardens or
in a carriage with ladies. On the other hand, hunting activities the
Bourbons' favourite pastime will take place on the grounds (if the king goes
shooting) or in the surrounding forests (riding to hounds).
Social Gathering or Work
6 pm: Louis XIV often leaves his son to preside over the private social
gatherings known as soirées d'appartement. The king himself might sign the
many letters prepared by his secretary, then go to Madame de Maintenon's
quarters where he might study an important file with one of his four
secretaries of state.
10 pm: A crowd fills the antechamber of the King's Suite to witness this
public supper. The king is joined at table by the princes and princesses of
the royal family. Once the meal is over, the king returns to his bedchamber
to say 'goodnight ladies' then retires to his cabinet where he can indulge
in conversation with his close acquaintances.
11.30 pm: The couchee, or public ritual of retiring, is a reverse, shortened
version of the levee. The Sun King's daily timetable was incumbent on Louis
XV and Louis XVI, but neither of them could bear court ceremonial. They
tended to flee to their private apartments or smaller chateaus nearby.
Levees and couchees became increasingly rare, as did public suppers.
Courtiers complained that the king was nowhere to be seen.