Review: Versailles
January 23, 2016

I just finished watching season 1 of Versailles, the newest offering of dramatized royal history on television. Brought to us by Canada and France production companies, Versailles tells the story of the early days of the building of the Palace of Versailles during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV.


We meet King Louis, of course, and get to marvel at his fabulous hair. We also meet his brother, Philippe, Duke of Orléans, and get to additionally marvel at his fabulous hair. We also get to meet the King’s subjects: nobles, a spymaster, a lady doctor, villains and lots and lots of mistresses.

To back track a bit, I knew what to expect: a visually stunning, loose portrayal of history. I went into Versailles the same way I went into watching The Tudors: the job of this show is to entertain, not to educate. With that in mind, I was free to enjoy the show and drool over the sumptuous decor and beautiful costumes while delighting in the court intrigues.


In all honesty, I went into watching The Tudors with a much broader range of knowledge on the subject than I did with Versailles. But as I watched the show, I would occasionally hop online to check a fact… and was surprised at how many details have been kept in tact.

versailles-M-and-P-boredlove the portrayal of the complicated relationship Louis and Philippe have. The relationship between Philippe and Chevalier is a joy to watch. By the end of the season, I was enamoured with Marchal the spymaster and the scheming courtier, Béatrice. The series offers a lot of great characters. I’m hoping season 2 offers a handful of dynamic female characters that can hold their own to the show-stealing Philippe.

Versailles is an addictive, sexy drama and returns for a second season, presumably, later this year.

Jillianne Hamilton is a history enthusiast and the author of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle (historical fiction), The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street (historical romance), and The Lazy Historian’s Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII (non-fiction). Jill launched The Lazy Historian in 2015. She lives in Charlottetown on Canada’s beautiful east coast. Learn more.

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    • I have not! I’ll definitely look into it though. Thanks for the recommendation.

  1. I loved everything about this series from the clothes to the relationships between the characters. An astounding job was done on the costumes and decor. I even loved the opening music! Fabulous! Can’t wait for Season 2!

  2. We are just getting thru it here in the USA… as you say, its of course entertainment, and some of
    the details are a bit unbelievable, yet it sucks you in. Great sets and costumes for sure, and there is no question that the actor playing Philippe(Alexander Vlahos) is a show stealer… I am about 6 episodes in so far, and I find some of the plots a bit tiresome… the writing could be better, but you are right about some of the historicity… the plots are contrived but they do have a reasonable historical core.


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Hi, I'm Jillianne.

I'm a historical fiction writer, a lover of history, and a hoarder of books. I'm the author of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle, The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street, and The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII.

The Lazy Historian is a history blog featuring stories from the past with sass. With a focus on Western European and women's history, I delve into anything fascinating. Learn more.