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Versailles Palace




Category: My latest Europe trip | Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:36 pm

While in Paris we took the opportunity to visit Versailles Palace. (Prononced 'Versay')

The Palace of Versailles was the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790. It was originally a hunting lodge, built in 1624, by Louis XIII. It was expanded by Louis XIV beginning in 1669. He used it as a lodge and as a secret refuge for his amorous encounters with the lovely Louise de la Valliere and built a fairy tale park around it. Jules Hardouin Mansart, the king's principal architect, drew the plans to enlarge what was turning more and more into a palace from A Thousand and One Nights. The terrace that overlooked the gardens was removed to make way for the magnificent Hall of Mirrors, the Galarie de Glaces. It is here from which the king radiated his power and where the destiny of Europe was decided over a century. The French classical architecture was complemented by extensive gardens.

Here is another of the massive gardens.

Versailles was the unofficial capital city of the kingdom of France from May 1682 (King Louis XIV moves the court and government permanently to Versailles) until September 1715 (death of Louis XIV and regency, with the regent Philippe d'Orléans returning to Paris), and then again from June 1722 (King Louis XV returns to Versailles permanently) to October 1789 (King Louis XVI forced to move back to Paris by the people of Paris). During the entire period, Paris remained the official capital city of France, and the official royal palace was the Palace of the Louvre, but in practice government affairs were conducted from Versailles, and Versailles was regarded as the real capital city.

Versailles became again the unofficial capital city of France from March 1871 (French government takes refuge in Versailles due to the insurrection of the Paris Commune) until November 1879 (newly elected left-wing republicans relocate government and parliament to Paris).

It is very difficult to describe the richness and wealth of Versailles in a few pictures. It is opulent!!


Versailles was made the préfecture (capital) of the Seine-et-Oise département at its inception in March 1790 (Seine-et-Oise had approximately 400,000 inhabitants at its creation). By the 1960s, with the growth of the Paris suburbs, the Seine-et-Oise département had reached almost 3 million inhabitants and was deemed too large and ungovernable, and thus it was split into three départements in January 1968. Versailles was made the préfecture of the Yvelines département, the largest chunk of the former Seine-et-Oise département. At the 1999 census the Yvelines département had 1,354,304 inhabitants.

Versailles is also the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese (bishopric) which was created in 1790. The diocese of Versailles depends from the archdiocese of Paris.

In 1975 Versailles was made the seat of a Court of Appeal, whose jurisdiction covers the western suburbs of Paris.


Here are some pics of inside the palace. There is literally gold inlay everywhere.


They also have a fantastic hall. Called The Hall of Mirrors, this hall has one wall entirely covered with 18 foot high mirrors. It is very long and I couldn't get it all in, but you get the idea.


Much of the expensive furnishings have been taken over the years (100's of years) during the many wars and occupations the palace has suffered. Our tour guide told us that there is a local society who are trying to get as much back as possibl.e However, as the guide said, to get all of it back there would not be enough money in France to buy it. Even if France itself were sold! So you can imagine the worth of the items taken.

Finally, here is one of the front yard! (No lawns to mow, which I think is a great idea!)





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Comments

Gardenstew wrote on Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:29 pm:


Absolutely lavish Craig. Thumbs up!

How far are we through the Eurotrip at this stage? I'd love to see more.





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