Palace of Versailles, Paris France
The Château de Versailles Grand Residence
The Palace of Versailles was the principal residence of the French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI. Embellished by several generations of architects, sculptors, decorators and landscape architects, it provided Europe with a model of the ideal royal residence for over a century.
Location of Palace de Versailles
It is located about 15 miles south west of Paris and easily reached by train.
Before the construction of the palace by Louis XIV, this settlement was little more than a hamlet but by the time of the revolution, it had a population of more than 60,000 people, making it one of the largest urban centers in France.
Palace of Versailles, UNESCO’s World Heritage
The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th century French art.
The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful.
The Hall of Mirrors, The King’s Grand Apartments
The Château de Versailles, the seat of power until 1789, has continued to unfurl its splendor over the course of centuries. At first it was just a humble hunting lodge built by Louis XIII. But Louis XIV chose the site to build the palace we know today, the symbol of royal absolutism and embodiment of classical French art.
In the 1670s Louis XIV built the Grand Apartments of the King and Queen, whose most emblematic achievement is the Hall of Mirrors designed by Mansart, where the king put on his most ostentatious display of royal power in order to impress visitors. The Chapel and Opera were built in the next century under Louis XV.
The Château de Versailles or Palace of Versailles Value Today
The Palace of Versailles cost about $2 billion in today’s money. It contains over 700 rooms, over 60 staircases and over 1,200 fireplaces.
The Palace of Versailles was decorated with valuable paintings and works of art. It contained an estimated 6,000 paintings and 5,000 pieces of furniture and other objects.
The Hall of Mirrors is one of the most spectacular rooms in the palace, and was originally lit with 3,000 candles.
The Museum of the History of France
After the French Revolution in 1789, it ceased to be a permanent royal residence.The Château lost its standing as the official seat of power but acquired a new role in the 19th century as the Museum of the History of France, which was founded at the behest of Louis-Philippe, who ascended to the throne in 1830.
That is when many of the château’s rooms were taken over to house the new collections, which were added to until the early 20th century, tracing milestones in French history.