THE ESPLENDOR OF VERSAILLES
When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.
From the seat of power to the Museum of the History of France
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 Museum of the History of France. The Château de Versailles, the seat of power until 1789, has continued to unfurl its splendour 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 lost its standing as the official seat of power in 1789 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.
King Louis XIV Beloved Versailles
Louis XIV of France ranks as one of the most remarkable monarchs in history. He reigned for 72 years, 54 of them he personally controlled French government. The 17th century is labeled as the age of Louis XIV. Since then his rule has been hailed as the supreme example of a type of government – absolutism. He epitomized the ideal of kingship. During his reign France stabilized and became one of the strongest powers in Europe.
During his reign France became the ideal culture since he put great care into its enhancement so he could boast it to the world. The country changed drastically from savage mediaeval ways to a more refined, exquisite living – evident from his palace in Versailles. Within 54 years he did what several kings worked on for centuries. French culture became one of the most appealing in the world, and the name Louis XIV has been associated with greatness and glory.
Louis XIV was a great monarch, and he was capable of maintaining strong kingdom because he never, in his entire life, doubted his right to be king.
His autocracy was indeed amazing, and truly an example of the kind. He lived and ruled as a king should have. Louis XIV became the ideal king, and many have tried unsuccessfully to live up to his glory.
About that site
THE HALL OF MIRRORS
The Grande Galerie (La Grande Galerie in French), as it was called in the 17th century, served daily as a passageway and a waiting and meeting place, frequented by courtiers and the visiting public.
The Economic prosperity is demonstrated by the dimensions and quantity of the three hundred and fifty-seven mirrors that decorate the seventeen arches opposite the windows, attesting that the new French production of mirrors, which at the time were luxury objects, is capable of stealing the monopoly away from Venice.
The Hall of Mirrors was restored in 2007 thanks to the sponsorship of skills of the company Vinci, great sponsor of the Ministry of Culture and Communication.