The Palace of Versailles

palace of versaillesThe Palace of Versailles is an impressive piece of architecture that is located in Versailles, France. The palace started out as a hunting chateau that Louie the XIII had built in 1624.

The first chateau was designed by Philibert Le Roy and was built of stone and red brick with a slate roof. It was later on that the Palace of Versailles went through an extensive reconstruction under Louis’ successor, Louie XIV.

It was Louie XIV that took great interest on the royal chateau in Versailles. He wanted to make it the center where he can rule France, so he can distance himself from the greater population of Paris. Over the succeeding decades, he was able to expand it into one of the largest palaces in the world.

The reconstruction began in 1669 where it was designed by Louis Le Vau together with the landscape architect Andre Le Notre. It was on May of 1682 that Louie XIV formally established the royal court on the palace.

The Palace of Versailles has many interesting features. Its grand scale is typical of the various buildings of Baroque architecture during its time. The grandness of the palace includes many of its lavishly decorated rooms that is big enough to house 6,000 members of the royal court.

Not only that, the palace is also known for its more than 250 acres of gardens formed out of swamps and whole forests. The French style formal gardens contained landscaped tree-lined paths, lakes, manicured flowerbeds as well as over 1,400 fountains.

A royal compound in the palace, called the Grande Apartments is lavishly designed with murals depicting Greek deities, paintings, velvet draperies, gilded bronze and tinted marble. Another spectacular feature of the palace is its Hall of Mirrors. The hall is a 235 foot long drawing and ballroom that is lined with 17 huge mirrors lined up on one side.

During the reign of Louis XIV, mirrors were considered as incredibly expensive fixtures that only the richest of the rich can afford. And with huge mirrors installed in the palace, the royal courtiers can admire their own fabulous costumes as they danced.

The mirrors were also specially installed so as to reflect the frescoes of the room’s ceiling. The other side of the room contains a row of windows that open up to show the vast gardens and provide the king and his court a view of the sunset.

It was in the palace that Louie XIV married Marie Antoinette in 1770 at the Chapel Royal situated inside the palace compound. Due to its grandness, the cost of building the huge and lavish palace has continued on to be debated upon.

Some estimates put the costs at around the USD 2 billion in today’s monetary value although many consider it as an undervalued estimate. This alone can have one imagine on the lavishness and grandeur of this impressive palace in Versailles.

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