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A King's Dream

Photo by France 2This sounds interesting. An article by Muriel Frat (Louis XIV, le monarque bâtisseur, January 3) in Le Figaro describes Thierry Binisti's Versailles, le rêve d'un roi, a new television docu-fiction about the construction of the most famous château in France, Versailles (my translation):

[The film] follows the transformation of a simple "hunting lodge" constructed by Louis XIII on the unhealthy lands of the town of Versailles into a palace surrounded by sumptuous gardens. "To understand Versailles, we must come back to the political plan of Louis XIV," explains Jacques Dubuisson, co-screenwriter with Michel Fessler. "Versailles was conceived as the instrument of his power. The king embodied his château, and there was no longer any distinction between the public and private spheres."

This provided the ingenious idea of the screenwriters to recount the phases of the château's construction in connection with the three women who mattered in the monarch's life. To each of the three women he loved, one after the other, corresponds a period in the life of the château and its gardens.
The three mistresses, of course, are Mlle de La Vallière (Laura Weissbecker), Mme de Montespan (Caroline Bourg), and Mme de Maintenon (Florence Huige), and Samuel Theis plays Louis XIV. The curatorial staff at Versailles oversaw and approved the screenplay as far as its accuracy. Since the BBC has purchased the rights to show the film, perhaps we have a chance of seeing it in North America at some point.

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