By Sylvie Corbet and Jeffrey Schaffer | Associated Press
PARIS — France is rolling out the red carpet for King Charles III’s state visit at one of its most magnificent and emblematic monuments: the Palace of Versailles, which celebrates its 400th anniversary.
Charles and Queen Camilla’s three-day trip to Paris and Bordeaux, starting Wednesday, includes a grand dinner at Versailles in the presence of over 150 guests in the Hall of Mirrors.
The palace has recently opened a gallery retracing its history, from its creation as a modest hunting lodge in 1623 to last century’s key diplomatic events — including the visits of Charles’ predecessors.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said Wednesday’s dinner echoes the state visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1972, when she was greeted at the Palace by President Georges Pompidou. King Charles liked the idea of following in his mother’s footsteps, according to Macron’s office.
Elizabeth II also visited the palace in 1958 and 10 years earlier, four years before her coronation in 1952.
Catherine Pégard, president of the Palace of Versailles, praised the “never-ending story” of the palace that “includes visits from French children who come to Versailles with their classes, as well as visits from His Majesty the King of England or tourists who arrive from Asia and are less familiar with the history.”
“And we have a story to tell each one of them,” she told The Associated Press.
Usually filled with a chaotic crowd of photo-snapping tourists from across the world, the Hall of Mirrors will be closed to visitors Wednesday to prepare for the royal banquet.
On the menu : blue lobster and crab followed by Bresse poultry and a gratin of cep mushrooms prepared, respectively, by French chefs Anne-Sophie Pic and Yannick Alléno, both awarded three Michelin stars. The cheese course will feature France’s Comté and Britain’s Stichelton blue cheese. For dessert, world-famous pastry chef Pierre Hermé will prepare his rose macaroon cookie, composed of rose petal cream, raspberries and lychees.
Charles’ visit will make one more date in the Palace’s long history starting from King Louis XIII, to the French revolution and all the way to modern times that is being presented on its ground floor into the newly opened Gallery of the History of the Palace.
The gallery has 11 rooms, each thematic and largely chronological, presenting over 120 works aimed at providing visitors from across the world with an immediate understanding of the complex history of the palace.
Source:: East Bay – Entertainment