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Simpson Street Free Press

From Modest Chateau to Palace Fit for Kings

King Louis XII originally chose Versailles, an area just outside of Paris, as the site for a modest hunting chateau. However, over the years it developed into something far more elegant.

“Louis” was a commonly chosen name for princes over many generations. To distinguish the different kings, roman numerals would be placed after their name to note who was who in order of their birth. Louis the XIV, also known as the Sun King, wanted to expand the chateau into a grand palace, and began construction on the project in 1661. Versailles became Louis the XIV’s permanent residence in 1682, and later the French court was established there. The heart of the building was the Hall of Mirrors—a big gallery of 17 windows that offered a grand view of the stunning gardens.

Louis XIV directed the architect Gabriel to do further work on the building, such as the addition of an opera salon and an additional palace called the Petit Trianon. Louis XVI added a library, and his wife Marie Antoinette took over the Petit Trianon. Two designers worked on Versailles. The original designer was Louis Le Vau followed by Jules Hardouin Mansart who assumed responsibility and worked on Versailles for 30 years. The one responsible for the landscaping of Versailles was Andrė Le Nȏtre. In October of 1789, revolutionaries angry at the rich due to colossal income inequality went to Versailles and caused great damage to the palace.

[Source: 100 Great Wonders Of The World Book]

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