Restoration work began on the Royal Chapel of the Palace of Versailles on 5th March and is planned to continue until 2020. This major project has been made possible by the patronage of Fondation Philanthropia, which is intending to bring together other patrons. Saint-Gobain has also made a commitment to supporting this essential restoration.
A patronage community
Since announcing its commitment to restore the walls and roof of the Royal Chapel in 2016, Fondation Philanthropia, which has supported the Palace of Versailles in its priority restoration projects since 2012 (restoration of the Latone fountain and parterre and of Trianon-Sur-Bois for a total of €8.5 million), has been seeking other potential patrons to contribute to the project by supporting the additional stages of work required for the lower parts of the building, in order to completely restore the structure.
This is how Saint-Gobain—a company whose history is deeply intertwined with that of the Palace of Versailles— decided to lend its support to this large-scale project. It was Louis XIV who created the Manufacture royale des Glaces (Royal Mirror and Glass Factory) in 1665 in order to manufacture mirrors for the Hall of Mirrors and glass
for the stained-glass windows of the Royal Chapel. The Palace of Versailles and Fondation Philanthropia are aiming to bring together additional patrons, whether large, medium or small businesses, or private individuals.
An essential restoration
Completed in 1710 by Robert de Cotte after a period of construction begun by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1687, the Royal Chapel of Versailles is the fruit of a lengthy building process and is probably the greatest artistic achievement of the Palace. The nobility of its architecture and the exceptional quality of decor
make the chapel one of the greatest masterpieces of sacred art. It was the final large-scale project carried out at Versailles under the reign of Louis XIV and is considered to be the monarch’s spiritual legacy. The last significant work to restore the building dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries. The precarious state
of the roof and the exterior sculpted decor means that urgent restoration work is required on both the roof and the walls. This will include the restoration of the framework, slate work, lead ornaments and gilding, cut stone façades as well as statues and windows.
Drawing on the expertise of highly skilled tradespeople
The restoration work will be carried out using traditional techniques by tradespeople and apprentices boasting ancestral skills: master carpenters, master roofers, master glassmakers, locksmiths, glaziers, stonemasons, gilders, sculptors, master metalworkers, etc. These restoration projects require the services of highly-skilled professionals and provide the opportunity to pass down techniques and expertise to train a new generation of tradespeople.
Thanks to the primary patronage of:
About Fondation Philanthropia
A philanthropic public-benefit umbrella foundation linked to Lombard Odier bank, Fondation Philanthropia facilitates its donors’ philanthropic initiatives in all fields of civic engagement including art and culture, social action, education, the environment and medical research. After supporting the restoration of the Latone fountain and parterre
and of Trianon-sous-Bois, the foundation is now the leading private patron of the Palace of Versailles.
With operations in 67 countries, Saint-Gobain and its workforce of 170,000 people develop, produce and distribute a wide range of materials and solutions designed for individual well-being and to preserve our collective future. These materials can be found in all areas of our daily lives and environments: buildings, transport, infrastructure as well as in
numerous industrial applications. They provide comfort, performance and safety while meeting the challenges of sustainable construction, efficient resource management and climate change.