Versailles’ dirty secrets – Toute L’Histoire

The Palace of Versailles, with all its gilded majesty still attracts thousands of tourists people from Germany, Britain, France and Japan flock to the palace to savour the intimacy of the royals but also to keenly discover the filth that lies behind the scenes they’ve all heard of a stinky Versailles of members of the court relieving themselves in the corners of stairwells of a king holding audiences on his throne a chair with a hole in the seat pre-conception they didn’t have the same means for cleaning the palace cleanliness was defined by having good breath and feet that didn’t smell perfumes came in to mask the lack of cleanliness so where did this bad reputation come from were the royals really as dirty as their stinky palace? one very important point to make is each area is convinced it’s clean where is the line between fantasy and truth between dirty and clean at the palace of the Sun King legend has it that Louis XIV only took one bath in his long life is that just another preconception or was Louis XIV really not a fan of bathing? There were no bathrooms at the time of Louis XIV, no specific places for washing, people bathed in the river They could also bathe in their chamber in which case a couple of bathtub would be brought in and filled but one has to admit, it was rare for the king to take a bath. In his youth, the king used to go to what we now call spas. Male member of the aristocracy would gather there to talk of this and that and notably of their mistresses. So Louis XIV did bathe more than once in this lifetime. However, cleanliness is still a sensitive issue. and while the Sun King did enjoy the palace`s ponds, it was to cool down, not to wash. What is more back then the term hygiene was rarely used These days we might see it as a filthy place a relatively stinky place a place very far from our present day understanding of hygiene but back then they didn`t see it like that. Louis XIV was convinced he was remarkably hygienic. There were no bathrooms at the time of Louis XIV


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