Monday, 26 December 2016

Palace of Versailles, France







   
The movie MERVEILLEUSE ANGÉLIQUE (a coproduction between France, Italy and Germany, English title: Angélique, the Road to Versailles) from 1965 is the second of five films about Angélique de Sancé de Monteloup (Michèle Mercier), the red-haired heroine who tries to makes a living for herself in mid-seventeenth century France. As the English title implies, her adventures bring her to the French court in Versailles.

Latona fountain, Palace de Versailles, 6 August 2016
In the first movie Angélique is bethroted against her will to the rich count Jeoffrey de Peyrac (Robert Hoessein) but eventually falls in love with him. The marriage comes to an end when he is being accused of sorcery and executed. In this film, Angélique tries to make a new living for herself. She starts working, first in an inn, later in a chocolate shop. Her cousin Philippe de Plessis-Bellières (Claude Giraud) introduces her in Versailles to King Louis XIV (Jacques Toja), the Sun King.

The arrival of Angélique in Versailles, the final scene of the movie, was filmed on location in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. She arrives on a coach and exits near the statue "Gladiateur Mourant Ludovisi" (Dying gladiator, 1681) by Michel Monier, based on a Roman original that was discovered on the territory of the Villa Lodivisi in Italy. The trees in the background have been replaced by a hedge. Angélique then walks towards the palace where Philippe is waiting for her.

Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:36:04
Gardens of the Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:36:11
Gardens of the Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:36:12
Gardens of the Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:36:18
Gardens of the Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016


Latona fountain, Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
The King and his entourage are walking in the gardens, heading for the palace and pass the Latona fountain, originally an oval pond commissioned by King Louis XIII. His son had it turned into a fountain and in 1667 the brothers Gaspard and Balthazar Marsy were ordered to decorate the new construction with animal figures, including 20 frogs. Because King Louis XIV liked to compare himself to Apollo, the sun god, he had a statue of Latona, put in the middle of the fountain.

She was the mother of Apollo, and also of Diana. In his narrative poem Metamorphoses Ovid tells the story of how Latona attempted to drink water out of a pond. When Lycean peasants did not allow her to do so, she turned them into frogs.

Latona fountain, Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
This moment was depicted by the brothers Marsy for the fountain, Gaspard made the statue of Latona and her children and Balthazar made the peasants, half human and half frog. Between 1687 and 1689 the fountain was again reconstructed. The statue of Latona was put on a marble pyramid with four tiers. Because Gaspard and Balthazar Marsy had died in 1681 and 1674, Claude Bertin was commissioned to add more animal figures, including turtles and lizards.


Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:35:35
Latona fountain, Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:36:21
Latona fountain, Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016

After being introduced to Angélique, the King takes the steps to walk to the palace. Angélique and Philippe remain in the garden, all by themselves. In the film the fountain looks grey, but in 2013 the structure was completely renovated and several figures were painted gold. During the first day of our visit the fountain was not working, as in the film, when we returned the following day we were able to see it in full glory.

Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:37:34
Gardens of Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:36:56
Gardens of Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:38:12
Gardens of Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:38:27
Latona fountain, Palace of Versailles, 5 August 2016
Merveilleuse Angélique, 1:38:44
Latona fountain, Palace of Versailles, 6 August 2016

The palace and its gardens are open to the public all year long and can also be visited separately. When visiting both, it is advised to buy a two-day ‘passport’, more information on the website Château de Versailles.

Screenshots © Prodis/KSM