Historic Versailles Palace exterior with tourists. Historic Versailles Palace exterior with tourists.

The Palace of Versailles in France: A Regal Odyssey!

The Palace of Versailles in France is among the most famous monuments in the world, well-known for its architecture, history, and the French Revolution.

Why was the palace built, who built it and how long did it take to build this magnificent structure? Let’s get to know more about the beautiful palace and its history.

1. About the Palace of Versailles in France

When King Louis XIV of France made the decision to construct a new palace and relocate his court from Paris, the chosen site at Versailles consisted of nothing more than a relatively modest hunting lodge.

Today, the Palace of Versailles stands as a representation of the extravagant opulence associated with the French nobility, which ultimately played a role in the French Revolution; all thanks to the collaborative efforts of a team composed of Louis le Vau, an architect renowned for his aristocratic clients, André le Nôtre, an extraordinary landscape designer, and Charles le Brun, an exceptional fashionable interior decorator and painter.

Louis XIV’s vast and stylish palace was completed 21 years after its initial construction which started in 1661. This allowed Louis XIV, along with his inner circle of friends, family, courtiers, servants, and soldiers to have an official place.

It’s worth noting that at this point, the renowned architect Jules Hardouin Mansart had taken over the design responsibilities. The palace is astounding, houses an impressive count of 700 rooms, and 2,153 windows and spread across 67,000 square meters.

2. The Sun King and His Palace

Louis was one typical king who had all kingly traits, he believed that everything revolves around him and thus he is the sun, an analogy to the solar system. And since he is the one and all, he should be called the ‘ Sun King’.

He strategically built the palace in a way that it aligned with the sunrise in the east, hence on the east/west axis. He did so to make sure that he lived where he would experience a sunrise and sunset every day.

He was a kind of self-obsessed king and had a lot of paintings and portraits of himself in the palace and the surrounding gardens.

Another reason for building a palace in Versailles was to relocate the French Government seat, away from the noble Paris families to avoid unnecessary trouble.

3. Inside the Palace

As you walk in the halls, you will see room after room made out of lavish marble, with some gold highlights in the interiors along with numerous beautiful paintings.

The ceilings are delightful and place Louis with the Greek gods and busts of other monarchs. The gold is used in a persuasive manner which showcases how wealthy the king was.

There are over 700 rooms, some specifically significant like the king’s official state bedroom where ceremonies were performed every morning and evening. These rituals involved the couriers tending to the king when he woke up or when he was going to sleep.

The queen’s bedroom has another specific ritual known as the toilette where they gave birth in public. Then, there are the Salon of War and Salon of Peace, and as the name suggests they were about the French military.

4. The Hall of Mirrors

The most popular room is the Hall of Mirrors and in this room one side has more than 350 mirrors arranged in a manner that captures the sun’s rays, again emphasizing the power of the sun and in turn of King Louis.

The other side of the room has views of beautiful, lavish gardens along with fountains and pathways spread across a staggering land of more than 2000 acres.

Although the room was just a pathway that the king passed through every day, he would also find courtiers waiting for an opportunity to ask the king for some favors. But the room also hosted a lot of grand parties and balls and other big events.

5. On the Outside

Compared to the outside of the palace, the inside is not that beautiful or elaborately decorated. But the beauty and the use of gold are still constant.

The architectural structure is borrowed from the Greek temples, so there are a lot of simple elements. There are also large statues and other structures, all part of the French king’s display of greatness.

6. After the Revolution

The original purpose of both the palace and the park was lost in the revolution, but this was and still is a grand monument.

So back then the government recovered whatever parts of it that they could. A lot of furniture and other things inside were destroyed, but the integrity of this huge palace still was intact.

Later the government repurposed it as a museum for people to visit and understand the grandeur and the life. The process of restoration also began soon after the entry of people into the museum had started.

It has become a very prominent historic monument now, both the palace and the park. The preservation and restoration activities are funded by the state. There are very specific protective measurements incorporated in terms of accessibility and fire safety regulation.

7. Final Thoughts

As we have seen now the Palace of Versailles is a huge historic monument of great significance, it is also a very popular tourist spot.

The fact that it has been restored to the original form of architecture that was used back then by the French emperor can also be seen which serves as a big attraction for a lot of visitors.

Secondly, it shows the grandeur of the whole palace and the immense amount of money and wealth that King Louis possessed and spent on building this gigantic architecture, which has remained to date, after surviving all tests of time and weather. It is truly a marvel which you must visit once in your lifetime!

  1. This insightful article on the Palace of Versailles not only transported me to the grandeur of French history but also provided a detailed understanding of its architectural marvels and historical significance. Learning about King Louis XIV’s vision for the palace and its alignment with the sunrise added a fascinating dimension to the narrative. The vivid descriptions of the Hall of Mirrors and the rituals within the palace enriched my virtual tour, making me appreciate the preservation efforts and the palace’s transformation into a museum. It’s a must-read for anyone seeking to explore the opulent legacy of Versailles!

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