Versailles
About place: Versailles

Versailles isn’t simply a palace but a byword of royal luxury going far beyond the limits of common human needs. The palace was ordered by Louis XIV who used to say: «State is me». And the king needed a residence, which would correspond to that statement.

The king was assured in the necessity of such palace after he had seen Vaux-Le-Vicompte, the estate of his Superintendent of Finances Fouquet. The palace itself was fairly modest, but it was so nicely blended with the park that you could consider it as a new life style of nobility – in the open, far from crowded cities. Besides, it was dangerous to live in the city palaces of the king, Louvre and Tuileries, in the time of the Fronde, and Versailles had to restore security and magnificence of royal power.

It was just Versailles that one can consider as a kind of cross-point when royal residences turned from citadels or fortified castles into showy ensembles where both palaces and parks became the places of carefree existence.

After imprisonment of Fouquet, which was done not without the efforts of the other power-ful minister Colbert, the team of famous architects, such as Louis Le Vau, Andre Le Notre and some others, who had worked at Vaux-Le-Vicompte was sent to construction of Versailles. It began in 1661.

The palace and park of Versailles exactly copied the layout of Vaux-Le-Vicompte. The park has axial planning, with transversal axis going strictly through the center of the palace. Later, this principle was reused in many other palaces and parks.

For 50 years the scale and sites of construction had been constantly extended. The trea-surers always remonstrated against the amounts of money spent on Versailles, but after the life of royal court became a continuous masquerade and feasting, it was difficult to give it up.

Versailles is located 20 kilometers of Paris, and if you happened to be in this city, you should plan a trip to Versailles Palace. Without it your impression of Paris would be incom-plete. It takes you at least half a day. You should take a RER train at Musee d'Orsay station in the center of Paris. In half an hour you will be in Versailles, and then you will need about 10 minutes to go from the station to the palace.

You should visit both palace and park. The interiors of the palace overwhelm by their lux-ury. The royal chapel, where mesas took place, was built in the style of ancient temple with Corinthian columns. The royal opera house, great suites, bedrooms of Louis XIV and Marie-Antoinette – everything is open for visiting. However, the Mirror Gallery is most luxuriant of all this. It stretches for 73 meters and connects northern and southern pavilions of the palaces. There occurred balls, royal weddings, receptions of ambassadors and many other events.

The most important event, which greatly influenced the following world's history, was held just in the Mirror Gallery on January 18, 1871, when Bismarck, after defeat of France in French-Prussian War, was able to unite separate German principalities. It was just on that day that the German Empire was created and William IV was declared its first emperor.

Here are the main tourist attractions of Versailles – the Apollo's Chariot Fountain, Latona's Fountain, Great Trianon and Little Trianon, and conservatories.

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