Hunting dogs, chickens, sheep, birds, rabbits … The Palace of Versailles could shelter more animals than humans! Discover “The King’s Animals“, a unique exhibition to see from October 12, 2021 to February 13, 2022.

300 works from French and international collections

Paintings, sculptures, stuffed animals, tapestries, sleds, vellum, porcelain, goldsmith’s work … the 300 or so works brought together for the Les Animaux du Roi exhibition, from around fifty French and international collections, provide precious testimony on the place of the animal at the court of Versailles.

the king's animals exhibition in versailles
Copyright D.Saulnier, Chateau de Versailles

Bestiary at the court of Versailles

You have to imagine a Palace of Versailles populated by animals of all kinds, monkeys, cats, birds … living in apartments and anterooms. The Menagerie, now extinct, housed the rarest animals, from coati to couagga, from cassowary to crowned crane. In the park, game was plentiful, 2,000 horses were attached to the royal stables and 300 hunting dogs were housed in the large kennel. Animals also appear everywhere in the decorations of the castle and the gardens, where they are represented for their mythological or political symbolism.

the king's animals palace of versailles

The place of the animal at court

The exhibition will focus on the place and role of the pet at court, from the royal family to courtiers. Everywhere present, pets filled and enlivened the royal apartments, enhancing the daily life of children and adults, as many portraits show. We note that among the sovereigns, many are those who have chosen to surround themselves with their favorite animals, such as Marie Lesczcynska, wife of Louis XV. This attention of the court for the animal world allowed the emergence of an animal sensitivity, in contrast to the idea of ​​animal-machines specific to Cartesian theory, a craze particularly carried by Madame Palatine and, later, by Madame de Pompadour.

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