Les Plaisirs de L’Ile Enchantée – Time of Miracles

Louis XIV arranged plenty of great feasts. In fact, each one was a true gem, blending entertainment, art, music with some drops of magic. But celebrations of 1664 named ‘Les Plaisirs de L’Ile Enchantée’ entered the history. Maybe because they were first ones arranged in Versailles, which at the time was only taking its shape. Maybe because the king & his court were so young & bold. Maybe because Jean-Baptiste Lully & Molière’s genii only appeared in the artistic Heaven of Apollo. In any case, there is something completely bewitching in these celebrations, some mystery covered under a thick veil of time.

The feasts took place in Versailles (7-13 May, 1664). Officially they were dedicated to the Queen Maria-Theresa of Spain, (Louis XIV’s wife…well as a king he had to have one), but in fact, to Mademoiselle de La Valliere, Louis’s love of that time. The King and the Court arrived at Versailles and enjoy various sorts of entertainments: carrousel, course de bague, jousting, theater, ballet, fireworks, strolling, lottery, etc.

The palace building and just made gardens were turned into Alcina’s palace, where the main theatric performances took place. The feasts started with staging a piece of Orlando Furioso by Ludovico AriostoThe king played Ruggiero’s part. (A curious discovery I have made: Orlando Furioso was very popular in the 17th century France, though no complete translation was made. I suppose that it was also linked with close Italian-French intercommunication, in the artistic field as well.)

Molière presented the following comedies: La Princess d’E’lide, LesFâcheux,  Le Mariage Forcé, Tartuffe (3acts).The Queen-Mother, Anne of Austria, resented the last comedy as it revealed a hypocritic nature of churchmen and she even told His Majesty to forbid it. Louis obeyed…but not for long. Some years later the comedy was staged already in 5 acts and it had a great success.

Animals also participated in these magnificent divertissements. Besides horses, parrots (as I suppose), there were bears, an elephant, and a camel.

Times passes, epochs change and a magic of ‘Les Plaisirs de L’ile Enchantée’ will remain, as they depict perfectly the one they were made for: Nec Pluribus Impar/Not equal to many.

Vive le Roy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

PS. Archive documents: Philidor L’aisné 1664, Robert Ballard, Paris, 1664.


About kethuprofumo

Reconstructing the Past for the glorious Future
This entry was posted in Art, ballet, celebration, culture, France, History, Louis XIV, Society, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Les Plaisirs de L’Ile Enchantée – Time of Miracles

  1. I liked this report from the festivities, Maria. (Well it seemed like you were there.) Excellent job.

  2. fulvialuna1 says:

    Immagino l’impiego di persone per realizzare queste feste.

    • kethuprofumo says:

      Tanti, è vero…ma anche ogni cortigiano serviva nel modo suo. Così funzionava la Corte. Nessuno stava là solo per divertimento. Nel fatto, questa ‘tradizione’ velenosa apparse solo a Luigi XV.

  3. Very interesting post, Maria. Your insight is always spot on.

  4. robbiecheadle says:

    I had no idea King Louis was so artistic and adventurous, Maria. Great post.

  5. ateafan says:

    I am getting a very good education here. 🙋

  6. Aquileana says:

    Les plaisirs de l’Ile enchantée… well, the same is promising… and clearly these celebrations didn’t disappoint. 👏 Aamzing account, dear Maria. Molière was a genius, so I can see why he was included. (L’ avare is a great play…. I once saw it at the theater) . I was thrilled to learn that even animals were part of this. Aamzing ⭐️ Sending love and best wishes 😘

  7. moiragoff says:

    And Louis had a sumptuous record made of the event – a book of engravings (one of which you show above). I was shown one just a couple of weeks ago and it was beautiful. The destruction of Alcina’s palace (all in black and white) is truly amazing. Thank you for telling us about it.

    • kethuprofumo says:

      I have read a libretto made by Benserade. In fact he left plenty of written evidences concerning ballets & important Court events. Now it’s time for ‘Mercure Galant’. I have started a profound research on the feasts as I want to discover hidden gems we don’t know yet. Always at your service! 🙂

    • kethuprofumo says:

      By the way, I’m thinking to make an article on these feasts & Louis’s symbolism in dancing,,,or perhaps in the art as a whole, could you recommend a proper magazine that might publish it? Thanks! 😉

  8. theburningheart says:

    Orlando Furioso by Ariosto was such great influence in so many writers through History, here it’s a list of some:

    Teofilo Folengo
    Laura Terracina
    Edmund Spenser
    William Shakespeare
    Robert Greene
    Lope de Vega
    Luis Barahona de Soto
    Luis de Góngora y Argote
    Miguel de Cervantes
    Garcilaso de la Vega
    Jean de La Fontaine
    Sir Walter Scott
    Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam
    Italo Calvino
    Jorge Luis Borges
    Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie

    Some of the most famous.

    Great post Maria. 🙂

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