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Bâtiments du Roi


Bâtiments du Roi

The Bâtiments du Roi (French pronunciation: ​, The King's Buildings) was a division of Department of the household of the Kings of France (the "Maison du Roi") in France under the Ancien Régime. It was responsible for building works at the King's residences in and around Paris.


The Bâtiments du Roi was created by Henry IV of France to coordinate the building works at his royal palaces. Formerly, each palace had its own superintendent of works. Henry gave the task of supervising all works to Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully.

In the 17th century, the responsibilities of the Bâtiments du Roi extended beyond pure building works, to include the manufacture of tapestries and porcelain. In 1664, Jean-Baptiste Colbert was entitled surintendant et ordonnateur général des bâtiments, arts, tapisseries et manufactures de France ("superintendent and director-general of building, art, tapestries and factories of France"). This title was retained by several of his successors. Other areas that came within under the control of the Bâtiments du Roi included botanical gardens, and the Royal Academies of painting and sculpture, and of architecture

The wide scope of the responsibilities meant that the superintendent of the Bâtiments du Roi was effectively a minister of the French king. The director general was assisted by the first architect to the King (Premier architecte du Roi) and the first painter to the King (Premier peintre du Roi), a staff of inspectors, architects and several hundred workmen. Much of the work was left to the director's first lieutenants, such as Robert de Cotte and Gilles-Marie Oppenord.


According to a royal decree of 1 September 1776, the Bâtiments du Roi was responsible for:

Its responsibilities includes all buildings with a royal connection:

Superintendents or directors-general of the Bâtiments du Roi

From 1602 to 1708, and from 1716 to 1726, the head of the Bâtiments du Roi was known as a superintendent (surintendant général). From 1708 to 1716, and from 1726 to 1791, the head was known as the director general (directeur général)


  • This article is based on a translation of the equivalent article of the French WorldHeritage, dated 18 July 2006
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