Versailles' Royal Chapel

This extraordinary two-level palatine chapel is one of many delights to be found at the Palace of Versailles.

TravelCurious Tip

Make sure you find your way onto the second level to get ‘the royal view’ down into the nave.

The king as God’s lieutenant

In the traditions of the French monarchy, the king was chosen by God and through coronation became his ‘lieutenant’ on earth. All the paintings and sculptures in the Royal Chapel at Versailles evoke this idea - a series documents the process of coronation, starting at the nave and ending at the gallery where the king sat.

The Court would attend the king’s mass at around 10 AM on this day. He would sit in the royal gallery, surrounded by his family. In French hierarchical tradition, the ladies of the Court occupied the side galleries and the ‘officers’ and the public sat below.

Unfortunately for Louis XIV, his favourite chapel, built in 1682 on the site of the Hercules salon, had quickly proved to be too cramped. The Royal Chapel was built by Jules Hardouin Mansart between 1699 and 1708 and completed by Robert de Cotte in 1710; Louis XIV only used this chapel for five years before his death in 1715.

Gothic meets Baroque

Jules Mansart did not see the end of its construction as he died in 1708, the chapel’s construction having been delayed by war. His brother-in-law Robert de Cotte replaced him, but the general lines of the architecture and decoration had been decided since 1699. The nave, side aisles, ambulatory and an elevation with galleries were all included in the floor plan.

Look up to see how the white and gold decoration contrasts with bare marble tiling and the fantastically detailed painted roof. The chapel is a special example of Gothic and Baroque styles on show, interwoven but still possible to tell apart.

In its day, the greatest organists from Europe would play the mighty Clicquot organ which sits above the altar. Equally renowned singers would sing motets each day throughout the entire church service.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
Versailles' Hall of Mirrors
The Hall of Mirrors reflects the height of French prosperity under Louis XIV.
Versailles Gardens
These gardens are a feat to match the palace's interiors, designed by King Louis XIV's royal gardener.
Royal Apartments
Inside Versailles Palace, the Royal apartments were not only a place for rest but also the setting for important Palace ceremonies.
Versailles Palace
Located about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris, The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI.
Musical Fountains show
Enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the water features synchronised to the tune of period music.
Seine River Cruise
Get delighted with the magnificent views of the city along the Seine River, on board the Bateaux Mouches.

Related Tours

The Palace of Versailles & Gardens: Private Day Trip from Paris
Explore the golden splendour of the Palace of Versailles and its formal gardens on this half-day trip from Paris. The golden palace of the Sun King, Louis XIV, is France’s most visited attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fantastic tour of Versailles will introduce you to the glory and tragedy of one of the largest royal palaces in the world. 

On your private tour of Versailles, you will:
  • Travel in comfort with private return transportation from central Paris; 
  • Learn about the French monarchy and the run-up to the Revolution;
  • Hear the story of Louis XIV, France's longest reigning monarch: the Sun King, and his dream of the Palace of Versailles
  • Admire the golden gates and the impressive Baroque architecture
  • See the chapel where the unlucky King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were married;
  • Hear about the daily routines of the palace royals, nobles and servants and the royal ablutions and the duties of the King's gentlemen;
  • Learn the intricacies and scandals of life at court, how to hold your fan, drop your gaze, bow and curtsy;
  • Discover the mandate dubbed the 'Versailles Shuffle' and hear about Louis XIV's love of the ballet;
  • See the best of the palace, including the Royal Chapel, the magnificent Hall of Mirrors, Peace Room, War Room, and the King’s Grand Apartments; 
  • Enjoy the formal grandeur and beauty of the Gardens of Versailles;
  • On select days when running, enjoy the magical charm of the Musical Fountains shown in the garden;
  • After a tour of the famous gardens, enjoy an easy, private transfer back to Paris.

Explore this supreme symbol of royal power, the Palace of Versailles, with your expert private guide. Learn about the history of the French monarchy, and the story of how the young King Louis XIV turned a humble hunting lodge into the golden, gilded Baroque masterpiece of a palace you see today.

Walk the halls that kings, queens, nobles, dignitaries and servants of ages past have walked, admiring the extensive art collection including the King Louis XIV bust by Bernini, and enjoy the exquisite furniture and Baroque atmosphere of this most grandiose of palaces. 

Admire the reflections in the Hall of Mirrors - an innovative design for the time, and learn about courtly soirees and etiquette, as well as the scandals, plots and power struggles that dominated life amongst the French nobility.  

You will discover the most famous parts of the Palace, such as Versailles' Royal Chapel, the Hall of Mirrors, and the King's Grand Apartments, where you'll learn all about Royal ablutions, and what daily life was like in this most luxurious of palaces. 
After exploring the decadent interior, relax and take in the majestic beauty of the formal Gardens at Versailles – the grandest example of classical French landscaping anywhere in France, strewn with many beautiful statues and colossal fountains. On select days, enjoy the Musical Fountains show, which incorporates sound into the beauty of the garden. 

Generally, the show runs from April through October, on weekends and some Tuesdays and Fridays. On days when the show is not on, your guide will take you on a walking tour through the Gardens, after which you will return to Paris via private transportation. 

Things to note: This tour includes the use of mandatory headsets for groups of 5 or more. Please note: the Musical Fountain show runs from April to October on weekends, and on select Tuesdays and Fridays. 


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