1. Versailles is a Franco-Canadian historical television series about the construction of Versailles Palace during the reign of Louis XIV that premiered on November 16, 2015 on Canal+ in France and Super Channel in Canada.
2. A second season was already ordered ahead of the premiere.
3. Filming for the second season will begin in January 2016 and its story will take place four years after that of the first season.
4. The plot: Versailles, 1667. Haunted by the trauma of the Fronde as the nobles of his court begin to rebel against the monarchy, Louis XIV (George Blagden) in his 28th year in a Machiavellian political move decides to make the nobility submit by imposing a definite move of the court from Paris to Versailles, his father’s former hunting lodge. Trapped by their king’s “invitation”, the nobles of Paris gradually come to see the castle as a gilded prison and soon even the most humble courtiers of the king begin to show their viciousness as the alcoves of secrets, politics and war are maneuvered through, revealing Versailles in all its glory and brutality.
5. In addition to the Palace of Versailles many other castles are filmed for the depiction of the unfinished Versailles, including:
- The Vaux-le-Vicomte
- The Château de Pierrefonds used as the castle preuses room
- The gardens of the Château de Champs-sur-Marne
- The Château de Maisons
- The Château de Janvry
- The Château of Vigny
- The Château of Lésigny
- The commune of Rambouillet
- The Château de Sceaux
6. About 12% of this series’ budget was allocated to the art and costume departments.
7. As of 2015, this is the most expensive television show ever produced in France.
8. Though the show is filmed in English, main cast members George Blagden and Amira Casar both happen to speak fluent French.
9. The costume team consisted of about thirty people, including the series’ main designer, her auxiliary design team, stitchers and fitters.
10. The series was in development for five years before the cameras started to roll.
11. The series’ renewal for a second season was announced on October 6, 2015, ahead of its hotly-anticipated North American premiere.
12. Despite being a largely French-financed project, the series was shot in English with an eye toward a larger international audience. This drew the ire of many French critics, who felt the choice to shoot the series in English would have the effect of dumbing down the material.
13. Season one is set in the year 1667.
14. Season two takes place four years after the events in season one.
15. According to costume designer Madeline Fontaine, the production required the making of about 100 key cast member costume, and about 200 mass-produced extras costumes. Each costume, whether male or female, required about ten meters of fabric.