… the silence hanging over Versailles was so unaccustomed that it claimed my attention. The silence intrigued me. It amounted to an enigma. Let me be clear about something that most people would probably have trouble imagining today: noise was inseparable from Versailles. The sound of Versailles remains a part of me even now. It is a single block compounded of myriad individual sounds: ritual, military, religious, the changing of the guard and the ringing of the bells, a continuous background of barking, neighing, coach wheels turning, orders being shouted, raised voices at day’s end, music being played on all sides in the night, and the endless to-and-fro of servant’s footsteps on the wooden floors.
All this surrounded by the din, the disorder, the dust of the the omnipresent construction projects, never finished and always starting up again, the permanent “work in progress” that went on night and day … The noise comes back to me, occasionally, perhaps deafening to the outsider, but deep, violence, mysteriously nourishing, vitally necessary to the person living inside it.
—Farewell, My Queen by Chantal Thomas