The South Wing of Chateau


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The other outstanding event of 2013 was the French National Heritage Day — the occasion for so many of us to finally penetrate the South wing of the Chateau. What’s in the South wing? Nothing, and this is why they don’t want you to see it.

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Seriously, the wing is all about Napoleon. Why not let people in? No reason at all, except for the apparent traffic flow issues, that is where and when to finish and how many tickets they can sell: The present itinerary is perfect: here is your main palace ticket, there is your musical fountains ticket, then the Domain of the Queen ticket, plus food, drink, gift shop around the corner. Showing the South wing would break the rhythm, and they need their guests to stay focused; millions and millions are coming to be funnelled from nine to six, without any unnecessary distractions.

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So, they hold the space in reserve for all sorts of special events, renting it out occasionally to film crews. What are the highlights of the South wing? To me it’s a colossal statue of the Empress Josephine. Women are important at Versailles, and the important women assume the rank of fetish. At least this is how the Napoleon’s army felt about it. The soldiers resented the Emperor’s divorce; they were certain that Josephine was their lucky charm. The Emperor himself was not free of superstition, and ever since the Russian campaign complained bitterly about loosing his star.

 

 

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This entry was posted in Chateau Versailles, Josephine Beauharnais, Napoleon. Bookmark the permalink.

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