Only a short walk from the Palace of Versailles and at the heart of the historical area of the town, you can visit the Royal Tennis Court for a unique experience. Time has quite literally stopped: Here you will find extraordinary documents, busts and paintings that are testimony to the historical importance of this place.
One of the first gymnasiums in France
Passionate about ball sports, the royal family had a dedicated space built in 1686 for the celebrated game of real tennis. 'Jeu de paume' was the forerunner of tennis and was played with a wooden racket.
Entering the room, you will be surprised by the rectangular layout and the particular atmosphere that this room exudes. It is easy to imagine Louis XIV competing in a match with calls of encouragement being shouted out by the queen and his court.
The start of the French Revolution
Two hundred years later and the founding event of the French Revolution and the abolition of the monarchy – the famous Tennis Court Oath – took place in this room. Here, 578 deputies of the Third Estate met and declared themselves the 'National Assembly'. They swore that they would not disband until a new French constitution had been adopted. Several weeks later the people stormed the Bastille on 14 July 1789.
Two years after the French Revolution, the painter Jacques-Louis David immortalised this event in his enormous painting "The Tennis Court Oath". Will you be able to identify the major figures of the period?