What was it like to visit one of the most magnificent courts of Europe? Based on a wealth of contemporary documents and surviving works of art, this lavish book explores the experiences of those who flocked to the palace and grounds of Versailles when it was the seat of the French monarchy. Engaging essays describe methods of transportation, the elaborate codes of dress and etiquette, precious diplomatic gifts, royal audiences, and tours of the buildings and gardens. Also presented are the many types of visitors and guests who eagerly made their way to this center of power and culture, including day-trippers and Grand Tourists, European diplomats, overseas ambassadors, incognito travelers, and Americans.
Through paintings and portraits, furniture, tapestries, carpets, costumes and uniforms, porcelain, gold boxes, sculpture, arms and armor, engravings, and guidebooks, Visitors to Versailles illuminates what travelers encountered at court and what impressions, gifts, and souvenirs they took home with them. Versailles continues to impress millions of tourists today just as it enchanted generations of ancien régime visitors, whose experiences are brought to life in this sumptuously illustrated volume.