Versailles menagerie elephants in France

Versailles menagerie


OwnerKing Louis XIV of France
First elephant arrived1665
Last elephant left1681
Place Versailles
Country France
Website Website


Key People


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants

Elephant keepers
Record history
History of updates2020-10-06

Latest document update2020-10-30 07:03:11
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Versailles menagerie elephants, in Versailles, France , was founded in 1664 and the first elephant arrived in 1665. The last elephant left in 1681.

Comments / picturesLouis XIV of France erected his menagerie at Versailles.

When the palace of Versailles was built, Louis XIV of France also erected a menagerie within the palace’s park. The menagerie at Versailles was to be something very different from the one at Vincennes. Most of it was constructed in 1664 when the first animals were introduced, although the interior fittings were not finished until 1668-70. Situated in the south-west of the park, it was Louis XIV’s first major project at Versailles and one of several pleasure houses that were gradually assembled around the palace. It represented the first menagerie according to Baroque style. The prominent feature of Baroque menageries was the circular layout, in the middle of which stood a beautiful pavilion. Around this pavilion was a walking path and outside this path were the enclosures and cages. Each enclosure had a house or stable at the far end for the animals and was bounded on three sides with walls. There were bars only in the direction of the pavilion.

Animal fights were halted at Vincennes around 1700, the site fell into disuse, and the animals were installed at Versailles with the others. At about this time, the lions, leopards, and tigers from the menagerie at Vincennes were transferred to Versailles, where they were housed in newly built enclosures fronted with irons bars

Wikipedia: Versailles and its legacy

1682: The ambassador of Persia enjoyed the spectacle of a fight to the death between a royal tiger and an elephant.
1782: An elephant broke free of its enclosure and rampaged round the grounds of Versailles.

References for records about Versailles menagerie

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Versailles menagerie, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

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