Christophe Tardieu, the curator of Chateau Versailles, is a real gossip! And in his book, Le Surintendant de Versailles, he shares plenty of it. This is a fresh gossip, from the most recent years. My favorite anecdote deal with the curator conspiracy to remove the Louis-Phillip’s monstrous statue to Louis XIV from the Marble Court of Chateau.
The statue was a form of political satire, a tongue-in-cheek vandalism of the King of the French, as Louis-Phillip liked to call himself. Coming to power in 1850, he decided to turn the palace into a museum, a museum, but not to any particular king, but rather to “All the Glories of France!” To accomplish this project, a part of Chateau was destroyed and two incongruous neo-classicist structures were added to both south and north wings. The inscription A Toutes Les Glores de La France decorates the additions, if you are ever in doubt.
As for the statue to Louis XIV, it really makes sense only when you see it as two statues, the first, the unfinished statue to Louis XV, from which Louis-Phillip had inherited the horse, and then the out-of scale rider, clumsily mounted on it, without much consideration for the delicate size of the animal.
“Come Back Here, Your Majesty,”so read the sign on the chest of a protester who for days manifested his love for the bronze monster when the statue of Louis XIV was removed from the Marble Court. And so, under duress, it had to come back, although not quite to the same spot as before.