Hôtel Le Louis Versailles Château - MGallery by Sofitel

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Hôtel Le Louis Versailles Château - MGallery by Sofitel was constructed during the historic reign of the United Kingdom’s famed Queen Victoria, who sat on the British throne from 1837 to 1901.

Today, Hôtel Le Louis Versailles Château - MGallery by Sofitel sits before the resplendent Palace of Versailles, the location of the legendary French royal court throughout much of the 17th and 18th centuries. During that time, the land that the hotel occupies belonged to the estate. Beautiful sprawling gardens covered the area, mesmerizing the countless guests who traveled to visit the king. Both the palace and its marvelous grounds sprang forth from the genius of one of France’s most illustrious monarchs, Louis XIV. Known to history as the Sun King, Louis XIV intended for his majestic home to inspire devotion within the fickle noblemen that populated the realm. Yet, with the execution of Louis XVI at the height of the French Revolution, the nation’s new republican government abandoned the complex.

The grand arches that serve as the entrances to the current hotel were built when the Palace of Versailles found new life during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, Emperor Napoleon III. Under Napoleon III, the estate fulfilled a variety of unique royal functions, such as serving as a lavish venue for official ceremonies. He also developed the immediate vicinity surrounding the palace. In 1854, Napoleon III directed the Ministry of War to erect an artillery barracks on the grounds of the estate, so the Ministry hired architect Charles-Auguste Questel to design the new building. Questel built the structure in front of the palace, choosing a segment of its ancient gardens as the site for its construction. The building, named Les Manèges, became the main training facility for the garrison of horse artillery stationed at the nearby Petite Écurie.

The building was not used for long, as changing tides in France’s military fortunes lead the troops in Versailles to leave their barracks one by one, including the horse artillery at Petite Écurie. As such, commanders of the garrison considered the barracks superfluous over time, eventually discarding it completely during the 1970s. When the City of Versailles purchased the facility in 1973, the whole building was in tatters. Local politicians eventually decided to demolish the structure. The two grand arches were left standing, with one on the Avenue du Général-de-Gaulle and the other on the Avenue de Paris. The arches at these two entrances were classified as historical monuments.

Enterprising hoteliers later arrived and rescued the site during the early 1990s, redeveloping the location into a luxury boutique hotel. They incorporated the surviving gateways into the hotel’s layout, making them both act as the main entrance into the building. Pullman Hotels and Resorts managed the business for many years, until the hotel was rebranded as MGallery by Sofitel in 2017. The hotel was subsequently fully renovated, with the redesign of the hotel entrusted to two Russian architects, the Sundukovy Sisters. They decided to showcase the contrasting eras through décor that blends contemporary elegance with classical refinement. The arches of the barracks have been preserved and currently serve as the main entrance to Hôtel Le Louis. They feature historic details such as cannon and wreath patterns and a capital “N” that references Emperor Napoleon III. Sofitel now proudly operates the building as the Hôtel Le Louis, preserving its historical aura for future generations to enjoy.

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