If you are visiting the Palace of Versailles for the first time, you may be overwhelmed by it all. With its amazing splendor and history laid out in front of you, you may not notice a small relatively building directly across from the main entrance of the Château.
It is across from the parking lot and the statue of Sun King Louis XIV that you find the gate to the courtyard of the Galerie des Carrosses (Coach Gallery) of the King. This is where the monarchs of France kept their horses and carriages, within easy reach of the royal palace‘s gates.
And while the Château requires an entrance ticket, the Coach Gallery has free entry, usually on the weekends.
Inside, you can visit the gala carriages built for Napoleon Bonaparte’s wedding. Most of the coaches in the gallery date after the French Revolution as the ransacking that occurred during the revolution destroyed many of the royal carriages.
In addition to Napoleon’s carriage, there are also the burial and coronation carriages of Louis XVIII and Charles X.
The coach gallery also holds other carriages from the 3rd Republic and various sleds and sedan chairs for the bourgeoisie from the 18th century. It doesn’t snow often in Paris in winter, but when it does, the royals were prepared with their snow sleds.
Another interesting part of the collection is the bows (front) of the small boats used by Marie-Antoinette and her family on the artificial lake that is inside the gardens of Versailles. The bows are all that is left of the boats, after the revolution, a testimony to another era.
If you enjoyed that article, you may like to read more about things to do in Paris, as well as other châteaux in the area. A bientôt!