How smelly was Versailles? (2023)

Built on swampland, Versailles was described by a visitor in 1764 as an odiferous cesspool of dead cats, urine, excrement, slaughtered pigs, standing water, and mosquitoes. Inside the palace, things smelled different. Many royals in Louis XIV's day eschewed hot water baths, believing them bad for the health.

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Does Versailles smell today?

While paintings of Louis XIV's opulent court at Versailles show royals clad in gorgeously embroidered garments, viewers today are missing one of the main effects of their finery: the odor of hundreds of garments that have never been washed, all in one unventilated room.

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Does the Palace of Versailles still stink?

It's a smell but not one that you'd expect from a majestic palace; it reeks of feces and urine. Everywhere you go, you're reminded of the foul stench that emanates from the walls, from the cesspits, and even from the gardens. No place is safe.

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Were there bathrooms in Versailles?

It's difficult to believe today when gazing at the gleaming golden palace, but life at Versailles was actually quite dirty. There were no bathrooms as we would know them. Courtiers and royalty used decorative commodes in each room, while commoners simply relieved themselves in the hallways or stairwells.

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Did the French watch the king poop?

At the grand couvert, the king dined with his family - and nobles literally sat on stools to watch them. Visitors to Versailles often viewed the ceremony, as well.

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(Video) What Hygiene Was Like at The Court of Versailles


What drugs were used at Versailles?

Tobacco, herbs and possibly opium in lauanum - snuff and coffee, though coffee was very expensive. Coca leaves didn't travel well and were not used. The sniffing of that white stuff was fantasy.

Which king did not bathe?

King Louis XIV (1638-1715) was terrified of bathing; he's said to have taken only three baths in his life. That fear was shared by the noblility in the 17th Century – it ws thought that was thought that water spread disease (so the less you bathed, the less vulnerable you were).

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Did servants live in cupboards in Versailles?

But where did they stay? Most apartments consisted of a bedchamber, a cabinet and perhaps a wardrobe. The lucky ones could add a few antechambers or had rather large rooms. In this context, the servants' quarters were in the wardrobe.

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Are Versailles Gates real gold?

During the French Revolution that began in 1789, the French revolutionary government ordered to dismantle the front gate, which was completely covered with gold. In 2008, the gate was recreated and decorated with 100,000 gold leaves.

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Did Louis the 14th stink?

His stench filled the Palace of Versaille

His power was said to be so great that he had over 100 servants and seigneurs attend to spectate his dressing and undressing every morning. However, being in close proximity to King Louis must have been horrendous; because he was arguably the smelliest King of all time.

(Video) VERSAILLES' DIRTY SECRETS - Toute L'Histoire

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What French Revolution hygiene was like?

Popular belief held that opening the pores with hot water invited all manner of diseases into the skin. Bodily filth served as a de facto protective layer against illness. Most people simply took sponge or dry baths, rinsing their hands, faces, and nether regions, using as little water as possible.

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What was hygiene like in the 1700s?

In the 1700s, most people in the upper class seldom, if ever, bathed. They occasionally washed their faces and hands, and kept themselves “clean” by changing the white linens under their clothing. “The idea about cleanliness focused on their clothing, especially the clothes worn next to the skin,” Ward said.

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Did Versailles have no toilets?

The legendary Palace of Versailles began as a hunting lodge in 1624. After more than a century and a half of building, which included some of the most impressive construction campaigns in the world's history, toilets were added in the 18th Century.

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How many toilets are in the Palace of Versailles?

There were only two or three in the palace and these were the private property of the king, the queen and the dauphin (the first in line for the throne). Marie Antoinette's personal toilet. Everybody else managed with a chamber pot under the bed which some poor maid had to empty.

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How did Marie-Antoinette use the bathroom?

Though she had what we would consider a 'bathroom', there was no permanent bath fixed into the room. Her bathtub would be rolled into her bathroom by her servants and filled, bucket by bucket, with hot water. Once the linen-lined bathtub was full, the queen would add perfumes to the water.

(Video) Explore the Palace of Versailles and its foul smell | France

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How did they heat Versailles?

The rooms allocated for the festivities were fitted with "heating pipes" to keep the guests from shivering but these does not appear to have been a permanent fixture. With the draughty rooms and poorly heated rooms it is no wonder that people often caught colds or pneumonia.

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Did Marie-Antoinette drink alcohol?

“[Marie-Antoinette] usually ate nothing but roast or boiled poultry and drank nothing but water. The only things of which she was particularly fond were her morning coffee and a sort of bread to which she had grown accustomed during her childhood in Vienna.”

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What was it like to live at Versailles?

In its heyday, life at Versailles was a mix of power politics, hierarchy, etiquette and fashion. Courtiers lived in their own bubble of luxury and were focused on pleasing the king and following his rules. Louis XIV's social structure and etiquette practices were both the doing and undoing of Versailles.

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How often did medieval royalty bathe?

Yes, it's true. Clean water was hard to get but even those, who had access to it, rarely bathed. It is believed that King Louis XIV bathed just twice in his lifetime. Not just him, Queen Isabella of Spain bathed once when she was born and once on her wedding day.

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Why did Royalty not bathe?

Many royals saw themselves as being above everyone else, being so special that they had this aura around them which would be vanished if washed. Others believed that it was impossible for them to get dirty as they were divine royalty.

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(Video) Filthiest Place in the World, Versailles 🏛️ Historic Royal Palaces | Smithsonian Channel

How often would medieval people bathe?

There are stories of how people didn't bathe in the Middle Ages – for example, St Fintan of Clonenagh was said to take a bath only once a year, just before Easter, for twenty-four years. Meanwhile, the Anglo-Saxons believed that the Vikings were overly concerned with cleanliness since they took a bath once a week.

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Can you sleep in Versailles?

You Can Now Spend the Night Inside the Palace Versailles For a Kingly $2,000 a Night. The historic site is now a hotel. Photo courtesy of Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle. If you're looking for a luxury cultural getaway to Europe, you just might want to book a stay at France's Palace of Versailles.

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What are they sniffing in Marie Antoinette?

There's a scene in the film where someone takes snuff, although Coppola chose to portray “taking snuff” more like someone today would snort cocaine–in reality it would have been done with a snuff box.

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What did King Louis XVI eat for breakfast?

For breakfast, Louis XIV enjoyed a cup of broth or a bit of his favourite kind of bread dipped in wine, or things like cold sliced meat. Accounts vary on whether the King enjoyed a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

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1. What Hygiene Was Like at The Court of Versailles
(Nutty History)
2. The Disgusting History Of Royals And Royal Palaces | Louis XIV | Henry VIII
(Ancient Files)
3. What It Was Like To Live At Versailles
(Weird History)
4. What French Revolution Hygiene Was Like
(Weird History)
5. The Disgusting History Of Royals In Versailles | Louis XIV
6. The DISGUSTING Hygiene At ROYAL Palaces | Louis XIV | Versailles
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