No Royal Toilets in Palace Versailles!
Only a Select few Sat on These Thrones!
Watching the film "Marie Antoinette" with the Royals and their guests dancing around the ballroom of the "Palace of Versailles" wearing huge dresses with massive white wigs I began to wonder how and where do they go to relieve themselves? I believe the "Palace of Versailles" didn't have functioning toilets until 1768 (nine in total) all of which were only to be used by the King, his family, and close friends or nobles. So what was the procedure when the palace was full of guests who would have all been consuming much food and drink; where did these guests go potty? Did those big ballroom dresses with the big wire hoops also come with a built-in chamber pot?
I mean the women who adorned these costumes would have needed some assistance in lifting these giant gowns up so they could go to the bathroom. I find it challenging enough hiking up modern-day garb! I can't imagine trying to hike up the big hoop along with layers of underclothing that were adorned by the women who frequented the "Palace of Versailles" during this time period. I am so glad I wasn't around during this era; I was lucky to miss out on the huge discomfort I'm sure the women suffered due to the fashion at that point in history. Just looking at the torturous looking outfits of this time I can honestly say I'm glad I missed out on that.
Unique Smell at the Palace of Versailles
There is a rumour that "Marie-Antoinette" was hit by the contents of a chamber pot as she was passing under the windows of "Madame du Barry" who was the mistress of her father-in-law. She believed that this was no accident but was done intentionally. It was also told that the chamber pots from the upper floors of the "Palace of Versailles" were emptied regularly, down onto the interior courts below. It was also rumoured that individuals were known to relieve themselves in corners of the palace. Functioning toilets were not available to all that visited the palace. The "Palace of Versailles" was known to have a unique smell to it; could some of these said practices have had an effect on this perhaps? I am sure it was more of a necessity than a luxury to make sure that the palace had lots of fresh flowers and gardens filled with strongly scented plant species. The flowers would give off more pleasant scents compared to those left behind by past guests. These were the guests that would seek quiet corners within the Palace grounds to relieve themselves while the festivities continued uninterrupted all around them. Nothing was going to interrupt the palace parties--even urgent matters of having to relieve one's self! The majority of guests visiting the palace would have to figure out how to deal with the "call from nature" in a discreet manner. No one wanted to discuss such a stinking dirty topic, this was not considered something the upper-class (the blue-bloods) per took in. However, no matter what our social status is, no matter what walk-of-life we are from we all have to answer that nagging "call of nature" whether we want to or not!
Royal Potty not on Priority List
Considering the magnitude of the "Palace of Versailles" it is really amazing that there wasn't more time and thought put into providing ample toilet facilities for the large number of guests attending the many functions held at the palace. There was certainly much planning and re-planning of other sections such as the opera house and the theatre. I understand that an architect would much rather design an opera-house over an out-house. But I would think toilets would be more of a necessity and thus rank high on the priorities list of rooms or facilities to be built within the palace. I would see an opera-house more on the side of being a luxury, not a necessity. I then remembered that the people who were giving the orders of what was to be built were blue-bloods. Blue-bloods were upper-class people living a life of opulence surrounding themselves with things that oozed luxury. I guess the thought of toilets was a dirty word in the minds of the Royalty. So I guess there weren't too many guests asking directions to "The Royal Potty". Instead, they would discreetly be in search of a quiet corner. Especially, when the nagging "Call of Nature" became louder with each and every step! Thus, making the search for that private corner to relieve one's self at the "Palace of Versailles" more urgent than ever!
Picture provided by www.kansasmemory.org/item/224129