Lonely Planet Writer

See some opulent carriages as the Coach Gallery at the Palace of Versailles reopens to the public

After nearly a decade, the Coach Gallery of the Palace of Versailles in France is once again open to the public for viewing.

 

The gallery, which contains opulent coaches from France’s royal history, is located in the King’s Great Stables and has reopened its doors on 10 May with the support of a sponsorship from the Michelin Corporate Foundation. The collection is one of the largest in Europe and will be on display is a new and redesigned space after recently undergoing restorations.

The Palace of Versailles, a mid-17th century palace built during the reign of Louis XIV, attracts millions of visitors each year who want to take in the luxurious gardens or palatial rooms, such as the famed Hall of Mirrors.

Charles X's coronation coach is displayed in the King's Great Stables next to the "Chateau de Versailles" on May 09, 2016 in Versailles, France. After 9 years of closure and a complete renovation, the gallery carriages reopens to the public on May 10, 2016. This collection of coach is one of the largest in Europe.
Charles X’s coronation coach is displayed in the King’s Great Stables next to the “Chateau de Versailles” on 9 May in Versailles, France. After 9 years of closure and a complete renovation, the gallery carriages reopens to the public on 10 May. This collection of coach is one of the largest in Europe. Image by Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

Now, visitors will also be able to check out a collection of carriages that have been a part of major moments in French history, which includes Berlins from the marriage of Napoleon I, a coach from the coronation ceremony of Charles X and what served as the funeral carriage for Louis XVIII. Guests will also see “finely decorated harnesses with gilded bronze, litters, the small coaches belonging to Marie-Antoinette’s children and an incredible collection of fantastical sledges made during the reign of Louis XV”.

The funeral carriage for Louis XVIII is displayed in the King's Great Stable next to the "Chateau de Versailles".
The funeral carriage for Louis XVIII is displayed in the King’s Great Stable next to the “Chateau de Versailles”. Image by Chesnot/Getty Images

The gallery has been closed since 2007, and while some of the coaches have been on display during the past decade in a two-year exhibit in Arras, the new exhibition space has two galleries to show off the pieces in a permanent setting. The 1,000-square-metre space will spread out the collection in a space with scenography that “will respect the spirit and architecture of the setting: the Royal Stables built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart between 1679 and 1682”, according to the palace’s website.