Versailles prepares majestic setting for olympic equestrian events.

As the countdown to the Paris Games dwindles to less than four months, the illustrious Chateau of Versailles is poised to provide a regal backdrop for the Olympic equestrian competitions, set amidst its renowned park. However, amidst the anticipation, the site remains a bustling construction zone.

Notably, the pentathlon will also unfold within the historic grounds.

In a ceremonious event on Friday, accompanied by baroque melodies, the gleamingly restored statue of the Sun God, emblematic of the Sun King Louis XIV, was ceremoniously lowered back into the water, evoking the grandeur of centuries past. Crafted in 1671 by Jean-Baptiste Tuby, the statue depicts Apollo in a chariot drawn by four horses, flanked by his descendant Phaeton and dolphins.

Horses have long been integral to life at Versailles, with the stables opposite the chateau once housing a staggering 1,500 equine companions. A forthcoming exhibition on July 2 will pay homage to their legacy.

While earth-moving machinery continues to prepare the 5.3km cross-country course winding through the park, significant progress has been made on the dressage and show-jumping arena, with stands capable of accommodating 6,300 spectators already erected.

Lorick Joseph of the Olympic Organising Committee revealed that approximately “70 percent” of the construction work has been completed, indicating a steady stride toward readiness.

Additionally, a shaded 700-meter galloping track has been finalized, alongside a field for 200 horse boxes, which Jean Morel, the site’s sporting director, assured would be housed under air-conditioned tents.

Scheduled from July 27 to August 6, the Olympic equestrian events promise an unparalleled spectacle. Subsequently, the dressage events of the Paralympic Games will unfold from September 3 to 7.

Versailles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracted eight million visitors last year. However, post-Games, all temporary infrastructure will be dismantled, ensuring the site’s restoration to its historic splendor.