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The ball of the recumbents

le bal des gisants

When you enter the cellars of castle of Pierrefonds, voices whisper verses, thoughts, tirades in your ear... Let yourself be tempted, the game is worth the candle! We invite you to (re)discover this unknown collection of original casts, presented in the cellars of Pierrefonds castle.

The recumbents

In 1951, the castle of Versailles deposits in the monument an extraordinary collection of a hundred original casts representing kings and queens of France as well as great princes of the kingdom, from the Middle Ages to the XVIIth century.

These casts come mainly from the great necropolises.

These funerary statues were made in plaster, at the request of King Louis-Philippe who, in 1833, decided to create a stone gallery within the Museum of French History in Versailles.

The scenography, designed by Skertzò, offers a spectacular discovery of the works in the unusual setting of the castle's cellars, magnificently restored by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

Entitled "Le bal des Gisants" (The Ball of the Recumbents), this contemporary installation is a sensitive walk through history, lulled alternately by changing lighting, projections and whispered poems.

The scenography has been completed by a lighting device that accompanies the descent to the cellars in a splendid staircase, a real piranesian decor imagined by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

Entrée des caves du château
Entrée des caves du château

© C.Calpena /Centre des Monuments Nationaux

The cellars

The cellars of the castle were raised by one meter during the restoration in the 19th century so that the guard room would be on the same level as the courtyard of honor, under which the rainwater network passes.

During the bombings of the First and Second World Wars, the cellars of the Pierrefonds castle were used as shelters for the population.

At each alarm, the soldiers quartered at the castle joined the population in the two levels of cellars.

Since the 18th century, the ruins of the castle have always been a place of life for the Pétrifontains (the nice name of the inhabitants of Pierrefonds). They came to walk there and it is perhaps that which is worth to the castle its qualifier of "romantic ruins"...

Open your eyes and try to find the traces of their passage on our walls, whether in the 17th century, the 18th century or during the bombings of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.

Gisant dans les caves du château
Gisant dans les caves du château

© S.Leleu/Centre des Monuments Nationaux

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