Research Programmes

Area of study

A royal residence, a widely represented historical site and power base, and dedicated to preserving knowledge and skills, Versailles demands a multidisciplinary approach to the area of study carried out by its Research Centre: methods of exercising power; the structure and functioning of royal households; practices, attitudes and notable figures; the movement of people and ideas; representations of power; palaces (architecture and urban planning, decor and furnishings, collections, etc.); gardens (layout, plants, water system, etc.); and ceremonies, festivities and types of entertainment.

There is a flexible time frame for the study of these themes, which can help to shed light on current patterns of behaviour, as they often require tracing origins that, strictly speaking, predate the 17th and 18th centuries, but also explore more recent times. While focusing on Europe and its royal and princely courts, the geographical scope encourages comparative studies, expanding when necessary to other parts of the world.


Faced with the dispersion of works, the paucity of comparative studies and the tendency of specialists to compartmentalise institutional, thematic and geographical material, Versailles provides both a meeting place and encouragement for further research, which can be pursued in various ways:

  • basic research concentrating on areas that have rarely been explored and which favour a comparative approach;
  • documentary research to provide information for scientific databases;
  • applied research resulting in actual events.

The Programmes

The programmes undertaken as part of this research are multidisciplinary. They are always subject to approval by the Centre’s Scientific Committee, and are usually spread out over three years. The research team meets at least twice a year, producing a report signed by the project leader and validated by the Scientific Committee. These programmes are either the result of a project shared between several institutions, or are the subject of a call for proposals instigated by the Research Centre and endorsed by its Scientific Committee.

Current Research Programmes:

Research Programmes completed:

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Château de Versailles
Conseil général des Yvelines