Unlike today, the royal play area was used by all age groups. At the time, play was seen as a leisure activity as well as an integral part of courtly interaction. The constraints of court etiquette were compensated for by playing together.
The precious playground equipment has not survived the ravages of time, although there is evidence of its existence up until 1863. It was gradually disassembled. Because it was so well documented in archives and illustrations, the royal play area was able to be reconstructed between 1997 and 1999.
The merry-go-round was purchased in 1802 and set up in a pavilion, presumably designed specifically for it by Thouret. It consists of four life-size wooden horses, each equipped with a saddle, bridle and saddle cloth. Two sleigh-like chaises, one with a mermaid and the other with two stags as figureheads, round off the design. The horses were intended for the gentlemen, while the ladies rode in the chaises. The merry-go-round was worked by prisoners from the cellar below.
Following its careful reconstruction, the merry-go-round is now driven by a motor.