Because the Kings of France were crowned at Reims, the Archbishop of Riems was one of the most powerful men in France. The cathedral had all the usual Objects of Catholic worship but because the church is so old, powerful and wealthy, the objects are similarly ancient and precious. The royal treasury's most remarkable objects are Charlemagne's talisman (9th century) and Saint Remi's chalice (12th century). The Sainte-Ampoule, or “holy flask”, contains the holy oil with which new kings were anointed during the coronation ceremony. In addition the Palace of Tau contained all of the coronation regalia, most of which were either taken to Paris or melted down during the French Revolution. Fortunately many pieces were hidden and saved both during the Revolution and the two World Wars. The treasure, which is very rich in precious reliquaries, chalices, and other pieces of goldsmith's work, was saved from the fire of September 19, 1914, by the Curé of the Cathedral and one of his abbés. After being temporarily placed in the house of the Cardinal, it was evacuated in 1915, at the order of the Historical Monuments Department. The Coronation items from Charles X are also located here.
The interior of Chenonceau is full of history and a remarkable collection of art. The entrance hall, shown above, is covered with a series of rib vaults whose keystones, detached from each other, form a broken line. The baskets are decorated with foliage, roses, cherubs, chimeras, and cornucopia. Made in 1515, it is one of the most beautiful examples of decorative sculpting from the French Renaissance period. The entire interior is full of inventive architecture, art treasures and above all the history of France.
We decided to have tea at the Georges V since we had heard it was great and we wanted to see the latest flower show of Jeff Leatham. The Four Seasons has a high tea in Las Vegas but this room was much more elegant. The tea is held in La Gallerie, next to the lavish flower show in the marble courtyard.
In 1668, Louis XIV purchased Trianon, a hamlet on the outskirts of Versailles, and commissioned the architect Louis Le Vau to design a porcelain pavilion (Trianon de porcelaine) to be built there, to escape the pomp and rigid formality of court life with his mistress Madame de Montespan. In only a few years the fragile porcelain tiles deteriorated and Louis XIV had it torn down to be replaced with a more robust building.
In 1687 Jules Hardouin Mansart built the Grand Trianon, considered the most refined group of buildings anywhere in the domain of Versailles, on the site of the “Porcelain Trianon”. It is located at the end of the right end of the cross of the Grand Canal seen in the map to the right by the red box. In 1717, Peter the Great of Russia, who was studying the palace and gardens of Versailles, resided at the Grand Trianon; the Grand Palace at Peterhof is copied on Versailles.
We happened to visit during a special exhibition, Les Dames de Trianon (Ladies of the Trianon) which features all the kings’ women, the wives, the daughters, the sisters, the mothers, the ladies-in-waiting, the mistresses. Versailles is trying to revive interest in the often-overlooked Grand Trianon by hosting exhibitions here, like last year’s successful “A Taste of the 18th Century,” which brought together modern designers’ creations inspired by the 18th-century. I will be presenting images of the paintings from the exhibition in addition to images of the Grand Trianon.
The Crown of Empress Eugénie was the consort crown of Eugénie de Montijo, the empress consort of Emperor Napoleon III of France. Though neither she nor her husband underwent a coronation a consort crown was specially created for her. Though most of the French Crown Jewels were sold by the French Third Republic in 1887, the Crown of Empress Eugénie was kept and is on display in the Louvre museum in The Apollo room. In the spirit of full disclosure I took pictures of these crowns but they were in a glass case with lots of reflections and I decided to use pictures from the web.