Gather round for story time!
Actually...hop into my little golf cart because today I'm taking you to the Palace of Versailles.
We recently stayed at the Palace of Versailles in the Grand Contrôle, in a suite adorned with whimsical hot air balloons. The fabric covered the walls, the upholstery, the curtains...
I absolutely loved it.
“Madame, do you know the significance of the hot air balloons?” the butler asked with a grin.
“No! Tell me,” I replied, eagerly awaiting a new tale.
September 19, 1783—
(Oh my gosh…I just realized today is September 19th!)
So, exactly 240 years ago today, the first hot air balloon flight took place.
A sheep, a rooster, and a duck.
The Montgolfier brothers, wealthy paper manufactures, were invited to show off their invention— a hot air balloon—to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
The king suggested they send prisoners up in the basket, but the brothers suggested the three animals instead.
All morning, the grounds of Versailles filled with curious Parisians, and at 1:00 pm, in front of the Royal Family, a cannon blasted.
The balloon carrying the three animals lifted into the air and took flight, traveling 3.5 km before ripping. It slowly fell from the sky, leaving the animals unharmed.
The 8 minute flight made the history books.
And the sheep, rooster, and duck lived happily ever after in the King’s menagerie.
And there you have it. Your useless but interesting fact of the day.
The first hot air balloon flight.
Photo credit: Chateau de Versailles