Palace of Versailles: the Royal Chapel

Jules Hardouin-Mansart; finished by Robert de Cotte

Although there had been chapels at the Palace of Versailles earlier, this Baroque chapel, consecrated to Saint Louis (or Louis IX of France), was finally finished in 1710. The view here is only of the top story. The chapel has two storeys, the lower arcaded ground level for the public and members of the court while the high colonnaded first story--the same level as the royal apartments--had royal pews at the west end. The chapel is very tall (over 25 meters high) in proportion to its width. See chapel from the exterior.

View of the first floor; a view of the ground floor is not visible

While sometimes called Baroque, the chapel is more restrained that Italian Baroque churches, with none of the curves and undulations associated with this theatrical architecture. (See, for example, Bernini's Sant'Andrea al Quirinale and Borromini's San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane.) In some ways the chapel also seems Gothic, given its narrow and high nave, stained glass, and vaulted ceiling.

Vaulted ceiling with a Baroque illusionistic fresco by Antoine Coypel, 1708


The east end with apse painting of the Ascension and the beautiful organ pipes


Details of elegant classical colonnaded first story

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© 2008 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.