The next time you order something online and it gets lost in the post, spare a though for the royal architect who in 17th century France ordered a block of red marble, only to never receive it during his lifetime.
A few weeks ago in the southern department of Aude, a full 782 kilometres from the Palace of Versailles, a team of diggers working at a quarry finally stumbled upon the mislaid delivery.
After a thorough cleanup, initial expert investigations were able to conclude that this was indeed the lost regal block.
“The marble was commissioned for a set of 12 columns that were to be part of a chapel,” Kharid Massoud, president of the marble-promoting association Marbres en Minervois, told Le Parisien.
“The project was eventually abandoned.”
Photo: Joe de Sousa/Flickr
Despite that fact, and a delay that clearly deserves a place in the record books, the delivery to the majestic royal palace will resume as soon as possible.
However, the logistics team behind the move have decided that transportation of the marble block should adhere to the standards and practices of the 1600s.
That means taking it by horse and chariot to the famous Canal du Midi, then by raft along the canal through the cities and towns of Carcassonne, Castelnaudary, Toulouse and Bordeaux.
From there it will be transported up to Rouen in Normandy and finally down the Seine river to Paris and then Versailles.
Fortunately, there shouldn’t be anyone at the palace eagerly waiting to get their hands on the block of marble, as the estimated time of arrival in Versailles is four to five years.
Better late than never, we suppose.