Château de Versailles - on the map
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Versailles and it's Gardens count among the most prestigious monuments of the world's artistic heritage and are certainly the finest and most complete achievement of 17th century French art. King Louis XIII's former hunting lodge was transformed and enlarged by his son Louis XIV, who installed his court and government here. The Château was embellished with new apartments during the 18th century, in the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI. The royal family and the court were forced to leave Versailles on October 6th 1789, after the first days of the French Revolution. In 1837, King Louis-Philippe inaugurated the Museum in the Château, devoted to glorious events in the history of France.
"Very early in the reign of Louis XIV the Court was removed from Paris, never to return. The troubles of the minority had given him a dislike to that city; his enforced and surreptitious flight from it still rankled in his memory; he did not consider himself safe there, and thought cabals would be more easily detected if the Court was in the country, where the movements and temporary absences of any of its members would be more easily noticed.... No doubt that he was also influenced by the feeling that he would be regarded with greater awe and veneration when no longer exposed every day to the gaze of the multitude.
His love-affair with Mademoiselle de la Vallière, which at first was covered as far as possible with a veil of mystery, was the cause of frequent excursions to Versailles. This was at that time at small country house, built by Louis XIII to avoid the unpleasant necessity, which had sometimes befallen him, of sleeping at a wretched wayside tavern or in a windmill, when benighted out hunting in the forest of St. Leger.... The visits of Louis XIV becoming more frequent, he enlarged the château by degrees till its immense buildings afforded better accommodation for the Court than was to be found at St. Germain, where most of the courtiers had to put up with uncomfortable lodgings in the town. The Court was therefore removed to Versailles in 1682, not long before the Queen's death. The new building contained an infinite number of rooms for courtiers, and the King liked the grant of these rooms to be regarded as a coveted privilege. "
By duc de Saint-Simon
Louis was building Versailles almost all his life. He never saw Versailles ready because he had always new ideas for building or rebuilding, so Versailles was under construction till his death. Every corner and every smallest part of the palace and of the garden was build under his dearest care. Although the main ideas came from architects and gardeners, it's possible to say that Louis XIV was the builder and planner of that masterpiece. Building that grandiose palace he wanted not only to have a big comfortable residence in the country, he wanted to move the court from Paris to have a better possibility to control them all. He also wanted to leave something glamorous to the next generations, something that will show his greatness and power.