The Royal Stables

The vast Royal Stables at Versailles Palace indicate the importance of horses at the time.

They were an essential part of the palace complex, as the French royal family used the horses and carriages for transportation and ceremonial purposes.

Their Purpose

The Royal Stables were located to the northwest of the palace, and they were designed to be both functional and ornate. 

They were constructed in the 17th century and were originally used to house up to 600 horses. 

The stables were divided into different sections for different types of horses, and they also included several amenities for the horses and their caretakers.

Two stables, namely the Great and Small stables, are distinguished based on their purpose rather than their size.

Jules Hardouin-Mansart was the architect who managed the construction of the two structures in three years.

The symmetrical Royal Stables are in front of the Palace and are decorated with beautiful sculptures.

Although they are the same size, the two structures have slightly distinct floor designs. 

Both are constructed around a central courtyard with a semi-circle at one end that leads to an indoor arena.

During Louis XIV’s reign, nearly 1,500 staff, including squires, pages, coachmen, and horse surgeons, were employed here, and the stables housed over 2,000 horses by the 18th century.

The Versailles Royal Stables housed more than 2,000 horses in the 18th century.

Today, the Royal Stables encompasses various institutions, including the Versailles National School of Architecture, the Versailles Equestrian Academy, and the Centre for Research and Restoration of the French Museums.

The Versailles Stables are open to the public and house a museum dedicated to the history of the royal stables. 

You can see exhibits on the history of horsemanship and carriage-making, as well as a collection of horse-drawn carriages and other horse-related artifacts. 

The museum also includes a working stable where visitors can see demonstrations of horsemanship and carriage driving.

Visiting Information 

So, where are the Royal Stables located?

The Royal Stables of Versailles are situated separately from the palace grounds.

You have the option to explore the stables through guided tours or attend shows showcasing the skills of the Versailles school. 

The opening hours for the Versailles Equestrian Academy are limited to weekends, with various time slots for guided tours and shows. 

On Saturdays, guided tours are available at 3.30 pm, with visits every 20 minutes on Sundays from 10 am to 12 pm.

Special shows, followed by open visits, take place on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

Wednesdays and Saturdays also feature visits to the king’s stables in the afternoon.


What is Versailles famous for?

The French commune of Versailles is world famous for the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Versailles Palace, Park and Gardens.  
Originally the residence of French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI, and now a public museum spanning over 800 hectares.

It is the product of numerous architects, sculptors, decorators and landscape architects.

Can you visit the stables at Versailles?

Yes, you can visit the stables at Versailles, specifically the Gallery of Coaches in the Great Stables and the Sculptures and Mouldings Gallery in the Small Stables. 
You can only enter the stables on a guided tour, as the access is managed independently from the palace and gardens.

Guided tours and shows demonstrate the Versailles school’s skills.

Is the equestrian show at Versailles worth it?

The equestrian show at Versailles, led by renowned French horse trainer Bartabas, features a captivating blend of equestrian demonstrations, fencing, dance, song, and traditional Japanese archery. 

With the expertise of the Academy of Equestrian Spectacle, it can be a memorable highlight of your Versailles visit.

How many horses are in the Royal Stables?

The Royal Stables housed over 2,000 horses simultaneously during the 18th century. 

Presently, the Royal Stables accommodate various collections and institutions, including the Equestrian Academy of Versailles.

Featured Image: Chateauversailles.fr

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!