My last recommendation was for All of Bach. This week I’m here with the third (and final) season of a super-trashy television series. My message: you don’t know me. I’m rich and complex. I like bad boys in fine silk brocade as much as the next demoiselle.
There are two main reasons to love Versailles.
Louis XIV. He’s the king of France. He’s a real bad boy. Used to getting his own way. Yells at the help, and in his world, everyone is the help. Sleeps with every lady except his legal wife. Deeply insecure, when you get right down to it. A very nervous guy, haunted by fear of his many enemies, and of the rabble rising up, which he seems to know is inevitable.
Louis’s petit frère Philippe. He’s the Duke of Orleans. He’s beautiful, wild, and bored out of his mind because he’s not the king, which he can’t accept. He’s married, of course, because 17th-century royals have to be married for geopolitical reasons. But he’s also got a steady boyfriend, the Chevalier, who has shown bad judgment in seasons 1 and 2, but who somehow is a compelling, vulnerable, and lovable character. It’s not easy being in love with the Duc d’Orleans, so we have to cut the Chevalier some slack when he gets involved in the occasional regicide plot. Whoops!
There are lots of other interesting characters. Louis’s chief of security, for example, is downright unkillable. He’s fiction’s first attractive torturer. I also still think of the darling duchesse Henriette from Season 1. Wise beyond her years, and a beautiful swimmer.
The clothes are amazing. As one who has never been interested in the styles of Louis XIV’s court, it has been a revelation to me to see these young men and women fully inhabiting the over-the-top confections they wore in those days. I’m in awe of the imagination of the actors, to wear these things with such convincing ease. These are gorgeous young people, looking awesome and knowing it. When they put on their really glad rags, it takes your breath away.
The Chateau de Versailles is quite the set. The grounds, the forest, the Hall of Mirrors, the grotty back hallways. It’s all there. Some scenes were filmed in the real Chateau de Versailles, and also at other chateaux in the area. It all looks incredibly real. If high-style melodrama is not your thing, just turn off the sound and watch the beauty of the light and color.
I am going to settle in and binge watch the whole season today, on literal Lazy Sunday. Join me! There might be poisonings!
All three seasons of Versailles are streaming on Netflix in the US.