The Ballroom

The king danses !

 

Like in his Castle in Fontainebleau, François I wanted a beautiful ballroom for his new residence in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Louis XIV transformed it in a "Comedy Theater" where Lully and Moliere played.

On the death of Francois I, the large ballroom, which measured over 500 m2, was still an open air space. The principal remaining element is the monumental fireplace decorated with a stone motif of a salamander, the king’s emblem. The ballroom was inaugurated on 19 May 1549 with a grand banquet held by Henri II to celebrate the baptism of one of his sons. Louis XIV transformed it into a “theatre”, and equipped it with some impressive machinery. Over one hundred and forty performances of all kinds were put on in this room, regarded as the grandest in the whole kingdom. Lully and Moliere had their moments of glory here, and in 1666, Louis XIV himself appeared in the Ballet des Muses. Today, this ballroom accommodates the comparative archaeology room.