Versailles

Versailles

Symbolic city of the Sun King, Versailles is today more visited than the Eiffel Tower. Precious for its architecture and its history, the city is a true relic of the reign of Louis XIV and his glory. Versailles had a strong political power, both during the reign of the one who gave it all its greatness, but also through the desertion of political institutions for fear of the image that Versailles reflected during the Revolution and the years that followed. In the twentieth century it regained its value and renewed its ties with political institutions by welcoming the peace treaty of the First World War. Today, the city retains its political virtue, the President of the Republic regularly welcomes political personalities to Versailles such as Vladimir Putin. Rich of its history, Versailles has kept the architecture that made it famous, Paris Ouest Sotheby's International Realty offers you various luxury goods in this historical city.  

Before it glowed and made the triumph of a king, Versailles was just a small village of a hundred souls, settled around a church named St Julien. The first lord to acquire these lands was Hugues of Versailles, in 1038. The territory was transmitted through generations before being attributed by the king to Martial de Loménie and then taken by force by Albert de Gondi. The Gondi family will then receive, on several occasions, King Henry IV, then his dolphin, during hunts on the domain of Versailles. Seduced by these rich lands, Louis XIII bought Versailles, where there was already a hunting station that he transformed into a pretty little castle corresponding to the current Marble Court. This space was therefore a resting place, a secondary residence of the king. In fact, the rise of Louis XIV, marks the beginning of the glory of Versailles. The first works are undertaken in 1673, from the destruction of the original village to the construction of the Notre Dame church, Versailles then undergoes profound changes. In 1682, the king settled there with his court and began a vertiginous series of works, embellishments and expansions of the domain. Louis XIV will organize Versailles, with its architects, so that all constructions revolve around the central element, the castle. The castle became the capital of the power of the King of France. After this prestigious evolution of Versailles, influenced by classicism, the city will experience many tumults. When Louis XV is crowned, he begins to develop the land to the east, opening the way to a new part of the city, Montreuil. The Dauphin pursued the construction and redevelopment projects of the town, to the point where the town no longer depended on the castle, a sign of a coming break. In fact, the French Revolution burst into Versailles: from the opening of the General-States, which quickly became the National Assembly in June 1789, to the days of 5 and 6 October, bringing King Louis XVI back to Paris, the city then fell asleep for a long time.
A new life would later open up for Versailles, which would become the capital of a new power, the Republic. It became the seat of political and religious entities, also housing a bishopric. Versailles thus became a prosperous city, animated by politics and tourism, through markets and exhibitions, thanks to the arrival of the railways in the middle of the 19th century. Nevertheless, the city finds itself overwhelmed by the considerable costs of maintaining the estate, the lack of population, but also by the controversy that the castle represents, the true memory of the absolute Monarchy. The political entities gradually left the Palace of Versailles, until it was downgraded to the rank of museum, all its furniture had been sold during the Revolution, the castle then hosts the memory of the great French events. In 1871, the National Assembly, with a strong royalist majority, prepares the Restoration and calls the grandson of Charles X, Henri d'Artois, to ascend onto the throne . Thus Versailles, where the assembly was sitting, welcomed Henri V on 9 November 1873 to organize the coronation of the king; but, because of the "Head of the Republic (provisional)", Mac-Mahon, who was chosen by the assembly because he was a very royalist, this was a failure.
Moreover, Versailles retained its political value; it was here, in the Hall of Mirrors, that the German Empire was proclaimed in January 1871, giving the Germans the impression that they had conquered French power. On the other hand, the power is reconciled with the castle, by signing there at the end of the First World War, the Treaty of Peace. Nevertheless, the castle has considerably been deteriorated, falling into ruins over the years; it is then that the rich billionaire Rockefeller brings his financial help. Furniture and objects from the 18th century were found and brought back to the castle, fueling the influx of tourists, and offering the possibility of restoring and restoring the various buildings and outbuildings surrounding the castle. By reviving its splendor, the city of Versailles awakens again and regains its former prestige.
Today, Versailles is a city composed of eight districts marked by its history. Its homogeneous buildings and its large green spaces make it an ideal city. A prestigious city, twenty minutes from Paris, pleasantly served, rich in its past but also in its facilities, its recognized establishments and its architecture.     

Notre Dame

This is the oldest district of Versailles, laid out by Louis XIV with the aim of embellishing the surroundings of the castle. In 1671, the first in habitants settled around the Church of Notre Dame, after Louis XIV's development. However, from 1682, the district had to be expanded, the demographic increase giving rise to the Petite Place. The latter hosts the first Versailles hotels, which will be integrated into the estate. At the end of the 17th century, the town was in poor condition, renovations were organized and the fountain that used to sit in the center of the square regained its shine. The district also received houses of tolerance, setting up prostitution in the city, which was authorized at the time and still retains to this day these buildings, which have now become private houses. Finally, the Petite Place is, in the image of its past, a commercial space, with shops and other businesses; this picturesque space retains its architecture of the past.  Served by one of the 5 stations of Versailles, that of Versailles right bank which allows access to La Défense and St Lazare, Notre Dame is a vibrant and attractive district.

Saint Louis

To the south of the castle is the counterpart of the Notre Dame district. Organized like it in a checkerboard pattern around a central square, the carré Saint Louis, in front of the cathedral that gave it its name. Located on the site of the old village of Versailles, before the construction of the castle, it also houses many historical elements with the game room of Palm in particular (Place of the famous oath of the same name). The first houses were built to serve as guesthouses in the 17th century, then small houses were built in the 18th century; the village developed but was mainly used as an administrative area. In fact, official services of the Monarchy, Ministry of War, Superintendence and General Control of Finances were installed there. It is still possible to immerse oneself in this era by walking along the Royal and Anjou streets, as these have preserved most of the elements of the Sun King's reign. Today, the Saint Louis district is a quiet, authentic and sought-after area for its luxurious residences.

American independence street : originally named rue de la Surintendance, was the "headquarters" of all the administrative units. At number 1, we still find the former Grand Commun whose purpose was the preparation of food for the court. Also the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Navy can be seen.

5th Saint Louis’ Street : this is where Henri V settled, waiting for the support of his partisans to guarantee his place on the throne. He left this location at the time of the extension of Mac Mahon's term in office, in fact intended to gain time for a new attempt at Restoration; however, various discussions (in particular about the white flag which the future king held dear) made this return to the monarchy impossible.

Clagny Glatigny

In Clagny and Glatigny were the former seigniorial estates. Various lords acquired them, but it was Louis XIV who bought the entire territory, with the plan to enlarge the estate's park. A castle was then built there for Madame de Montespan, the king's favourite, Le Nôtre, with the idea of the gardens. In 1666, Louis XIV recovers all the land, including the properties ceded by his favorite. The territory is used for royal hunting, then the castles will be demolished, paving the way for an expansion of the neighborhood to the north. At the beginning of the XIXth century, the district is appreciated because of its accessibility due to the stations located there. However, the area had very few inhabitants and it was then that three architects, Gauthier, Leroux and Coiffier, joined forces in the hope of renewing the land. The neighbourhood is urbanizing at a slow pace, but is becoming more and more spread out. These numerous works have made Clagny and Glatigny a heterogeneous district, characterized by its buildings of all eras and by the originality of construction of some landowners.  Today, this district is highly prized for its large gardens, its extensive properties and for its family living environment within a suburban area.

Cassandre’s house : at 11th street Albert Joly, still an unusual house. Built in 1925, it was the house of Jean Marie Mouron, known as Cassandre (1901-1968), a draftsman, at the origin of magazine covers, advertising posters like the very famous one of the liner Normandie, and other realizations. One can see the large workshop, facing the garden.

Chantiers

Its name comes directly from the 17th century, when most of the stone-cutting work for the construction of the château was done on the building sites. The 3rd Versailles train station, which connects to the Montparnasse train station, is located here. It is today a very urban, dense district, composed of small individual houses, but also of residences from the 60s. Very dynamic district, with many companies and administrative services.

Montreuil

Originally, Montreuil was just a small village, its name being a contraction of monasteridum (monastery in Latin). In fact, monks used to grow cereals and vineyards there. Louis XIV, in order to extend his control of the surroundings of Versailles, cut the village in two by a way that broke the influence of the Celestials, to whom he was opposed. Montreuil is thus composed of the Small and the Large Montreuil. Louis XV ends up buying back all the land and converts it into holiday cottages where many estates are established. Market gardening and horticulture continued at that time before ending in 1945 in favour of the construction of social housing. To the east of the town, with a busy shopping street, is the railway stop of the Rive droite station. It is one of the largest districts of Versailles. It consists mainly of residences from the 50s and 60s and some suburban areas.

Porchefontaine

Resulting from the presence of two water sources, this Versailles district was originally an estate belonging to the celestial monks. The latter had established barns, stables, farms, stables and sheepfold there. However, on the arrival of Louis XV, the land was annexed for hunting. The Revolution destroyed this land, which only became attractive again in 1863 with the development of a site for horse racing and later, a plant nursery. In 1888, only poor and defective housing populated the Porchefontaine district. It was only in 1928 that the district was better developed, with housing estates and a more viable space. Indeed, new horticultural infrastructures, cinemas, schools, markets and police stations were put in place to improve the life of the inhabitants. It retains a village-like appearance and a suburban space. Its habitat is essentially made up of small millstones from the early 20th century in a forest environment still preserved.

Jussieu

Coming from the lands of Grand Montreuil, this territory is also marked by market gardening and horticulture. However, it will take another destination by becoming a place of hydraulic development. Indeed, the development of dams allows the spring water from the Picardy hill to be captured and conveyed to the fountains and stables. Drinking water was available as early as 1685 thanks to an aqueduct and the installation of filters that were active until 1964.  The district evolved slowly and kept its horticultural traditions; it was only at the beginning of the 20th century that it would experience real transformations. There was massive urbanization, with the construction of low-rent housing and garden cities in response to population growth.  In the north-east of the city, this district is now mainly residential, with allotments and flowered pavilions alongside large residences.

Satory

Occupied by a military camp, it housed defense staff and their families. It is now at the heart of a major development project, made possible by the liberation of the military grounds.