The Palace of Versailles, France, was built in the 17th century. It all started with Louis XIII (1601-1643), first building a castle that served as a hunting lodge for the king and his entourage. It was his successor, Louis XIV (1638-1715), who transformed it into a marvelous palace that exudes luxury and power.
Indeed, French author Charles Perrault said, “It’s not a palace, it’s an entire city. Superb in size, superb in material.”
It was designed by Louis XIV’s favorite architect, Joules Hardouin-Mansart.
He had the Grand Trianon erected, which is “perhaps the most refined architectural ensemble in the royal estate of Versailles”, as the palace’s website states.
Joules Hardouin-Mansart described it as “a little palace of pink marble and porphyry, with marvelous gardens”.
The Palace of Versailles is worth £39 billion, according to Love Money.
Castle Tourist argued this: “It is one of the most extravagant and luxurious palaces ever known on the planet.”
But what is so special about this colossal castle?
Love Money called it “the largest royal estate in the world” as it encompasses over eight million square meters of land.
It is so vast that visitors to the palace use means of transport such as small trains, bicycles and rowing boats to discover the palace and the park.
Outside, in the huge space, they can find beautiful sculptures, fountains, flower gardens, water features and monuments.
One of these monuments is the Love Monument, designed by Richard Mique in 1777 and approved by Marie Antoinette.
It is worth far more than Buckingham Palace in London, which has been valued at £3.84billion.
Frommer’s travel guides even called the French palace “exaggerated”.
Since the 19th century, the Palace of Versailles has been a museum for those who want to witness the splendor firsthand, and 10 million people visit the park each year.
The World Heritage site contains 2,300 pieces and is unsurprisingly one of the greatest achievements of 17th-century French art.
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One particular room that is sure to baffle and amaze is the Hall of Mirrors, the most well-known room in the palace.
The hall, which has a total of 357 mirrors, speaks of France’s economic, artistic and political prosperity through its works of art.
Its golden theme and many chandeliers also testify to its lavish nature.
Famously, on June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed in the Hall of Mirrors, ending the First World War.
The war room is extravagantly covered with marble panels decorated with six trophies and gilt bronze weapons.
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The decoration, completed between 1678 and 1686, pays homage to the military victories which led to the peace treaties of Nijmegen, which established Louis XIV as arbiter of Europe.
The Peace Room is symmetrical to the War Room and contains the same marble decorations with gilt bronze, but instead depicts the benefits of peace brought to Europe by France.
Most rooms follow a color theme; Empress Marie-Louise (1791-1847), wife of Napoleon, filled her bedroom with pink furniture, while Louis-Philippe I (1773-1850) had a mostly yellow living room for playing and resting.
For those wishing to deepen their knowledge of the Palace of Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, built in 1681, has been restored into a hotel in the park.