Sans Souci or Cent Souci? Only Frederick the Great really knows.

Front dome, Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany

As part of our Christmas Along the Elbe tour with Viking this past December, we found ourselves at the stunning “summer” palace of Frederic the Great located in Potsdam, Germany — Sanssouci. Saying it’s a lovely place or a stunning summer palace (which was really used year-round) is an understatement, for sure.

Built during the years of 1745 to 1747 as a private getaway for Frederick II (a King in Prussia from 1740-1772 and later King of Prussia from 1772 – 1786), the one-level Rococo structure became a respite from the stress of ruling, a place named for the French phrase sans souci — no worries.

Side view: Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany

Today, this “home away” for ruler Frederick the Great, a major military power in his time, is similar to a French maison de plaisance or house of pleasure. And for those of us fortunate enough to walk the grounds in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, Germany, and view the exterior, it is the picture of elegance, style, and enduring beauty.

From ornate columns, statues of people turning into nature, and a central domed room, the home seems balanced, strong, and stately.

Roccoco style: Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany

This summer home is palatial even in its simplicity with its grand hillside view, gilded touches, elegant European style, and curved constructions from colonnades to domes. (That’s why we’re linking this post to this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #191: Curves.)

Colonnade: Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany
An elegant colonnade at Sanssouci Park
Fencing detail: Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany
Fencing around the home at Sanssouci Park

But it was our guide’s question at the end of the tour that caused us to pause and consider the longed-for visits to Sanssouci by Prussia’s leader.

She shared this sound alike with us: the term sans souci (meaning without worry) is pronounced similarly to cent souci (a hundred worries). And she asked us which we thought would have been on the leader’s mind as he retreated to this comfortable, yet elegant home — no worries or hundreds?

Details at entrance: Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany

We have no idea what goes through a world leader’s mind, but we suspect the answer to this question is blurred: A retreat without worries is perhaps less common than one with many concerns no matter how elegant and relaxing the surroundings are.

We’d love to know what you think as well.

Fountain view from Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam, Germany
A view of the fountain from the gilded fence around Sanssouci.

So, visit Sanssouci if you are near Potsdam, Germany, for a glimpse at a summer place to remember. And for more entries bearing curvy photos, be sure to check out this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge by Ann Christine.

Until then, here’s to travel — sans souci, of course!

Rusha & Bert

29 thoughts on “Sans Souci or Cent Souci? Only Frederick the Great really knows.

  1. Bama

    That’s a very intriguing question! It may sound counter-intuitive, but I think people who build a mansion or a palace with the idea of it giving them no worry or peace of mind are actually the ones who have so many things to worry about in their minds. Those who really have no worry will just stay where they are, I guess.

  2. Tina Schell

    An excellent choice for the week Rusha. I’m always amazed at the amount of money spent on places like these in the days when many commoners were starving! I suppose we have examples these days with the Russian oligarchs and of course our own zillionaires as well. But I digress! I am certain that the name was meant for without worries or it would have been spelled differently. Also because it was his getaway from everyday worries of ruling. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I, too, am amazed at the residences of the wealthy, but they are beautiful to visit at home and abroad. Frederick the Great probably did go there to ease his burdens, but I thought the tour guide’s ability to pick up on two words that are pronounced the same but mean quite different things was an interesting point. And, if truth be told, a caring leader probably never has “no worries”! He/She is always wondering how to solve something! Thanks for taking a look.

  3. Leya

    Beautiful! I love all your curves, and especially the ornate columns with people turning into nature. And I love yellow…and understand if you wanted to see it all in summer dress as well!

  4. Prior...

    quite a stunning place – and I read your comment so sue about preferring to see this in summer – but it looks like there is much to enjoy anytime of the year

  5. Toonsarah

    It does indeed look stunning! I love all the building details, like that gold ‘sun with a face’ 😀 I have no idea how many worries he would have had but I would be amazed if he were ever totally without them!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      How interesting. He must have been an interesting leader. From what I’ve read, he was interested in art at an early age. And as an adult, he was a leader to be feared. Thanks for the link. I need more info on this interesting person.

It makes our day to hear from you.