Marie Antoinette Online Forum

Versailles and Facilities
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Author:  Hellou_Librorum [ Sat May 18, 2013 10:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Versailles and Facilities

I know this topic is random and not exactly tasteful but this question has been bothering me. How can historians explain the lack of facilities in Versailles? I have a hard time believing that people would just urinate on the floors and that would be the end of it. So here is one far-fetched theory I have. Could urinating on marble floors be a demonstration of wealth? As in " My nation is so wealthy that we don't just use it for architecture but we literally urinate on it because we can replace it!"

I'm still confused on this one....

Author:  Ludy [ Tue May 21, 2013 7:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Versailles and Facilities

No offence, but I think that's very far fetched.

Most people would simply defecate or urinate in their own private bathrooms, where they were the facilities that were available at the time. Marie-Antoinette at least did have toilets equipped with a primitive flushing system, so she was not all that unclean.

With respect to defecating in the palace, I think those reports stretch the truth. I remember seeing a documentary where Christine Albanel, I think (who ran the Palace at that time) emphasized that Versailles was not all that filthy. They were probably people that indulged in such behaviours, because they had no way to isolate themselves in private bathrooms, and because public facilities were inexistent, but I am sure it was no common place and in fact frowned upon.

Author:  Hellou_Librorum [ Thu May 23, 2013 8:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Versailles and Facilities

Thanks Ludy. I agree. It didn't seem likely that courtiers would do that often or it would be accepted. It was a foolish question, but my curiosity got the better of me.

Author:  History Detective [ Mon May 27, 2013 9:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Versailles and Facilities

Hellou_Librorum wrote:
It didn't seem likely that courtiers would do that often or it would be accepted.

Hi, Hellou_Librorum! I have wondered the same myself, and I have heard that the tendency towards relieving oneself in such places as stairwells and behind curtains or in planters, etc., was mainly a tendency of those who were not of the royal family or of the courtiers. Many of the courtiers had suites at Versailles where they could take care of their urgencies. But there were those of the lower classes who were at some disadvantage in that respect. I have heard that the area of the Escalier des Princes and Salle des Marchands, where the merchants lurked, was rather notorious for such unseemly deposits.

Author:  Lamballe [ Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Versailles and Facilities

Those of you who haven't read 'Versailles, A biography of a Palace' - buy it and read it! It is a fantastic book written by Tony Spawforth, and it containes so many wonderful details of the palace!
I was sad to learn thou, how much has been changed since 1789. I almost cry thinking about Louis Philippe - and that he destroyed the hole south wing, with many, many wonderful apartments, to create his Hall of Battles.
Not to mention all of the furniture that was sold during the revolution and so on. But read the book! : )

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