Aulica Coll. No 6 - Voyageurs étrangers à la cour de France (1589-1789) : regards croisés

Voyageurs étrangers à la cour de France (1589-1789) : regards croisés (publication following the international symposium held on 31 January and 1er February 2013 at the Institut historique allemand-IHA), directed by Caroline zum Kolk, Jean Boutier, Bernd Klesmann and François Moureau, joint publication Centre de recherche du château de Versailles / Presses universitaires de Rennes (“Histoire” collection, “Aulica. L’Univers de la cour” series), September 2014, 16,5 x 24 cm, 392 pages, 18 black & white illustrations, 14 colour plates, index, €22 (ISBN: 978-2-7535-3483-4).


The French court was one of the favoured destinations of the many travellers, both aristocrats and bourgeois, who criss-crossed Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some were honoured with an official reception, others merged into the steady stream of anonymous visitors that roamed the royal palaces.
What impression did the court leave on these foreigners?
Their journals and letters present a contrasting, even critical, image of French court society that was nevertheless regarded as the most splendid in Europe. The prestige of the Palace of Versailles and of the French monarchy aroused high expectations that were fulfilled in some cases, but left others disappointed. The constraints of etiquette, a protocol considered outdated and the poor condition of the royal apartments are frequently mentioned in written accounts. Nevertheless the attraction of the French model persisted, as we can see from the reforms to royal households and new architectural projects undertaken by some travellers on their return home. Based on new or little-known accounts, the studies brought together in this work shed light on various aspects of the court visit, and examine how the perception of the court and the French monarchy evolved on a European scale.

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Book reviews

Read Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly’s review published in the Francia-Recensio, 2016/4.

Read Philippe Hourcade’s review published in the Cahiers Saint-Simon (No. 44 - year 2016) and available online at Persée (in French).

Associated publication

A special issue of the Bulletin du Centre de recherche du château de Versailles is dedicatee to the critical edition of five sources of the modern era reflecting the reception of foreign visitors at the court of France.

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