The €27 million ($30 million) 10 hour English-language Franco-Canadian co-production will tell how the “Sun King,” Louis XIV, transformed a relatively modest hunting lodge in Versailles into a majestic palace that became the envy of Europe. This implied significant VFX and green-screen CGI work, plus careful choice of locations and studio sets that could convey the notion of a palace under construction.
The first series was shot by four different directors, including “Yves Saint Laurent” helmer Jalil Lespert. Shooting began in Aug. 2014 and is due to be concluded by the end of this month. 50% of the shooting took place in the studios of Bry-sur-Marne, in two sound stages covering a total area of 1000 m2, where the royal apartments were recreated. Canal Plus should premiere the show in September 2015.
The first season will see the young King evolve to become the Sun King, the King of the Kings. Characters both real or fictional, from courtesans to humble paysans, will guide us through a world of betrayals and secrecy, political manoeuvres and war declarations, revealing Versailles in all of its glory and brutality. A golden cage where arrivists, ready to do anything to get in, will never be able to get out.'
Did you know that ?
The palace and gardens of Versailles have supplied the backdrop to more than 180 films over the last 110 years. Some of the big-name pictures filmed at the palace include “Midnight in Paris,” one of Woody Allen’s biggest commercial hits, Benoit Jacquot’s “Farewell, My Queen” and Sofia Coppola’s “Marie-Antoinette.”But “Versailles” is by far the most ambitious project to occupy the Palace, and is the first TV series to be filmed there.
This posed a major logistical headache – since filming inside the Palace is only possible on Mondays, when it’s closed to the public. Further headaches were caused by the fact that a major contemporary art exhibition occupied part of the palace and the gardens and Mondays is also the only available day for delivering art works and other major supplies to the buildings.
The four or five costumes worn by the principals were custom made, cost thousands of Euros each, and were designed by Madeleine Fontaine, who has won two Césars (the French Oscar) and worked on Yves Saint Laurent.
French critics' anger as new series is being produced in English
During the 72-year reign of Louis XIV - the longest of any major European monarch - French became the universal language of the European elite.
So it is not exactly surprising that French critics have reacted angrily to the news he is to become the protagonist in a new 'dumbed down' television show - produced in English.
Critics have labelled it a 'crime' to have the great monarch speak in English - particularly as the ten-part series is being made by French station Canal Plus.
The decision to produce in English has been made because it will make the show easier to sell outside of France. Director of fiction at Canal Plus, Fabrice de la Patelliere, called it a 'pragmatic choice to enable the series to be exported'.
In France itself, viewers will be able to choose to watch the show with subtitles or dubbed in French.
Eight million tourists visit the Palace every year, and 12 million visit the gardens. But film/TV works such as “Versailles” will enable the Palace to enter the homes of billions of people around the world.
Paris wants its 'unique' rooftops to be made Unesco world heritage site.
They inspired Van Gogh and many other artists, and now the emblematic grey zinc rooftops of Paris may be listed as a world heritage site. Paris’ rooftop bars, such as Georges on the top of the Pompidou Centre, the Nuba on quai d'Austerlitz and the Perchoir in Menilmontant are all proving immensely popular.
A campaign to persuade Unesco to grant the roofs of Paris world heritage status is being launched by the mayor of the capital’s 9th arrondissement and other public figures.The bid would include measures to protect and highlight the roofs, including development of viewing platforms, restaurants, bars and even swimming pools. They are also to announce plans to open more viewpoints to the public so residents and tourists can enjoy spectacular views over the rooftops of the city centre’s elegant 19th century Haussmanian apartment buildings and grand 17th century townhouses.
France is not short of Heritage sites however the only site in Paris that has the title of World Heritage status are the banks of the River Seine.
On the Mediterranean coast, between Nice and Monaco, the Greek Villa Kerylos is one of the most extraordinary monuments on the Riviera. Built between 1902 and 1908 in the period the French call the "Belle Epoque", it is a unique reconstruction of an ancient Greek home. "Kerylos" means Halcyon, often identified as a kingfisher, a poetic mythical bird, considered to be a bird of good omen.
This is a tribute to Greek civilisation by two lovers of Ancient Greece, Théodore Reinach, an archaeologist and patron of the arts and Emmanuel Pontremoli, an inspired architect.
Couple of minutes away you will be able to visit 2 other treasures : Villa Ephrussi de Rotschild and high perched village of Eze.
Chateau de Maintenon : This beautiful castle can be visited on your way to Chartres.
The building would probably have remained anonymous had it not been for its famous owner, who was to leave her mark on the site forever – Madame de Maintenon, and with her, the Sun King himself, Louis XIV. The story of Madame de Maintenon is one of a governess who became Queen!
The château bears witness to the remarkable ascendancy of Françoise d’Aubigné. It underwent a series of major transformations to meet the needs of the Court and the King: the grand gallery between the château and the church was built to protect the Absolute Monarch from bad weather on his way to mass. It was also at this time that Le Nôtre redesigned the grounds, creating a magnificent landscape dominated by water – perhaps to make up in some way for the lack of water at Versailles…
An other location worth the visit that I just discovered even though I live 20 minutes axay from it is the Caillebotte property. Less known than Giverny or Auvers-sur-Oise, the city of Yerres hosted painter *Gustave Caillebotte* who created numerous masterpieces in this family property.
Some 40 amazing pieces produced here and which have been incorporated into prestigious collections such as the National Gallery in Washington, the Musée d’Orsay, the Art Museum de Milwaukee, and the Musée Marmottan Monet, have been assembled in this exceptional presentation. (on until July 20th)
Even though we are often referred as a pessimistic country, the French often use the word "belle" meaning beautiful, nice as if after all they were very sensitive to beauty and if their quest for beauty was an ongoing process and attention. Well it is !
La belle vie (the good life), la belle étoile (under the stars) , la belle ouvrage ( well done job), se faire la belle (take the midnight express), and today la belle saison (summer months). La belle saison is more than just summer, it is a mood, a search for the sunny spot in town, the perfect terrace, the latest rooftop, the pop up bars along the Seine banks, gathering with friends to take an apero by the water, take a picnic lunch and feel as if you were on holiday for 30 minutes before going back to the office. I know I should not share those precious spots as they are few and should remain secret...
The latest talk in town is definetely the just opened Molitor Hotel and its mythical swimming pool. You can enjoy a rooftop terrace with a BBQ.
Last year's buzz is still worth the visit : Le Perchoir.
One of my favourite spot is the Nuba's terrace at Dock en Seine because it is laid back, wide, overlooking the Seine.
The cool & chic terrace of the Mama Shelter's Hotel remains in the top 5.
43 up on the roof, the rooftop of the Holiday Inn Notre Dame.
Movie theaters can complete the list with Terrasse Kluger located in the Cinema Etoile Lilas ((independant from the theater) and the Bar du Louxor ( if you have a movie ticket only).
Last but not least and one of the most glamourous : La 8 Iena the new terrace of the Shangri La Palace opening on June 02.
Here is a serie of Paris illustrations I find really nice and interesting. The Paris Traveler series focuses on moments over monuments, giving a playful prominence to the things you do over the things you see. You may order them from the Etsy website : https://www.etsy.com/fr/listing/109278114/paris-print-illustration-de-paris?ref=related-0