Located 20km southwest of Paris is, the once sleepy, village of Versailles. In 1624 Louis XIII built a small hunting lodge in the village after having made several trips to the area to hunt with Albert de Gondi. Eight years later he enlarged the lodge tuning it into a modest château (summer home). His successor however, Louis XIV, then turned it into one of the largest palaces in the world.
In May 1664 Louis held a fair, Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée (Pleasures of the Enchanted Island), and he needed accommodation for the 600 invited guests. It start a building program that for almost the next 50 years Louis enlarged the château and turned it into a palace with building projects including the Grand Apartment of King, The Grand Apartment of the Queen, the Hall of Mirrors, Orangerie and finally the Royal Chapel. By the time 1682 arrived the Palace was so large that Louis moved the Royal Court out of Paris and into Versailles, where they stayed until 1789 with the beginning of the French Revolution.
It became the capital of France.
The restoration of the Monarchy saw many projects finally completed leaving us an incredible building with a total floor space of 67,000m² and containing some 2300 rooms.
The Galerie des glaces (Hall of Mirrors) is probably the most celebrated room in the château and has been the scene of several notable events. On the 18th January 1871 the German Empire was founded as well on 28 June 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed, blaming Germany for World War I
Today Versailles is symbol of opulence from days gone by, a recent study suggested that between 1684 and 1710 Louis XIV spent what would today equate to €2 billion, it had more than 350 living quarters and one of the first buildings with functioning toilets (9 in 1768 and only for the King and his family…granted). The gardens alone are worth the price of admission, 800 hectares decorated with over 200,000 trees along with 210,000 flowers that are planted annually. Water is everywhere with 35km of piping moving water between 50 fountains and more than 600 water jets along with ponds and even a canal.
One of the true glories of France.