History of Palace Of Versailles

The Château de Versailles, popularly known by its Palace of Versailles, was originally a hunting lodge that was later changed into a place of residence for King Louis XIV. It is located in the outskirts of Paris in a small village of Versailles. The Palace of Versailles History goes back to being built by architect Louis Le Vau along with landscape designer André Le Nôtre in 1661. After King Louis XV became the king of France, the palace underwent more transformations and the Opera House was added, which is yet another important structure in the palace, worth visiting. 

The History of Palace Of Versailles continued to mark the royal majesty in the eighteenth century as it transformed into a grand place. Luxurious additions where made to its architecture including the Hall of Mirrors and the Opera House. However, it faced a lot of damage during the French revolution in the late 1700s the time when monarchy was overthrown and the palace was subjected to a lot of looting and desecration. After the revolution, the palace was restored by Napoleon I to its present structure today and is now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Louis Xiii And Versailles
Louis Xiii And Versailles

On August 24, 1607, the future King of France, the Dauphin, Louis XIII, came to Versailles for the first time to go hunting. When he told his father, King Henry IV, that he had found a forest and meadows teeming with game, the news was met with delight. But the doctor who documented the visit, Héroard, claims the Dauphin didn't come back until 1617. After being crowned monarch in 1610, he returned to the region in 1621 and quickly developed a fondness for it.

It was surrounded by woods that echoed with the calls of pheasants, boars, and stags, and it was conveniently located between his primary residence in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Paris. Toward the end of 1623, King Charles I decided to construct a modest hunting lodge for overnight use; he stayed there for the first time in June 1624. The Maréchal de Bassompierre said of his modest country home, "a mere gentleman would not have been particularly proud of the construction." To commemorate his coronation in 1631, Louis XIII ordered its reconstruction. As Versailles history has it, it is said that up to 1634, construction was ongoing, which laid the groundwork for the modern-day Palace.

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The Reign Of Louis XIV
The Reign Of Louis XIV

The life and reign of Louis XIV are inextricably intertwined with that of Versailles history. While the site was inhabited for centuries before Louis XIV, it was only after he took a strong liking to it that he decided to expand the existing chateau, which had been built by his father as a hunting lodge out of brick and stone. As the King had grand visions for the chateau and the surrounding forests, he decided to take on the role of an architect and create a work of art that would be forever associated with his name. In October 1641, Louis XIII sent his son and his brother to Versailles to get away from a smallpox epidemic that had spread to the Palace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

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The Reign Of Louis XV
The Reign Of Louis XV

According to Versailles history, Louis XIV died in September 1715, and the court relocated to Vincennes and then temporarily to Paris in December. After a period of lavish care, Versailles fell into disrepair. Every two weeks, the Grandes Eaux Fountain Display was turned on by the estate's governor to ensure its proper functioning. The Palace was nothing more than a tourist attraction for Tsar Peter the Great, who came there twice in May and June 1717.

The young Louis XV did not return to Versailles until 15 June 1722, and that was at his request. First and foremost, he wanted to finish his great-work, grandfather's but he also wanted to build more personal, secluded study areas for himself. He was so shy that he preferred to spend more time in private quarters than in the lavish public spaces designed by Louis XIV.

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The Reign Of Louis XVI
The Reign Of Louis XVI

Louis XVI, like his grandfather before him, was born in Versailles, and he ascended to the throne at a young age. One of the most important events of the late 18th century in Versailles was the joyous occasion of his marriage to Marie-Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria, in 1770. It was held at the Royal Opera House as per Palace of Versailles history.

In contrast to his grandfather, Louis XVI spent the majority of his time at Versailles, where he undertook numerous interior improvement projects while devoting himself, in his private quarters, to the study of a wide range of sciences that particularly interested him. Louis XV had built the Petit Trianon for Mme de Pompadour, but Mme du Barry had lived there first. In 1774, Marie-Antoinette accepted her husband's gift of the estate and made it her own.

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Versailles And The French Revolution
Versailles And The French Revolution

As Palace of Versailles history has it, this palace survived the French Revolution relatively unscathed, despite the fact that some might have preferred to see such a prominent symbol of the monarchical system destroyed. After the royal family left for the Tuileries on October 6, 1789, the King's Buildings service was able to start restoration work on the Hall of Mirrors' ceiling paintings that would have been embarrassing to do while the Court was present.

Although the Convention had decreed that preservation of the former royal residences ceded to the nation, the collapse of the monarchy in August 1792 nonetheless ushered in a period of uncertainty. Even after this time period had passed, there was still some debate about the best way to make use of the South Wing, which had been temporarily appropriated for arms production before the work was moved to the Grand Commun buildings.

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The 19th Century
The 19th Century

In October of 1789, the royal family and their court departed from Versailles for Paris, and those days were over for good. Knowing full well how the Palace would be perceived, Napoleon opted instead for the more humble Trianon as per the Palace of Versailles history. Although Pope Pius VII did pay a visit there in 1805, it wasn't until Louis-Philippe became "King of the French" in 1830 that Versailles was truly revitalised.

The new ruler of the July Monarchy shared a passion for the past with his illustrious family name, the House of Orléans. The king decided in 1833 to build a museum "dedicated to all the glories of France" to bring together the various factions in France, from monarchists to republicans, loyalists to traitors, and conservatives to progressives. The museum, which first opened in 1837, was dedicated to the illustrious episodes in French history spanning from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the July Monarchy.

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FAQs About Versailles

What Versailles was and why it was created?

    As per the Palace of Versailles history, this lavish palace was commissioned by Louis XIV, and he began transforming the royal hunting lodge in Versailles, where he had spent his childhood, into a symbol of royal opulence in 1661. In 1682, to impress his subjects, Louis XIV relocated his court to the grand palace of Versailles, located just 13 miles far outside Paris.

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