CrashBoomBang

the travels & travails of an escaped lab rat

Versailles: Château de Versailles

Until the Sun King cast his eye on it, the Château de Versailles was a modest hunting lodge in a sleepy country village.

Renovation and expansion began on Louis XIV’s order in 1661, and the court was officially moved and established there in 1682. Work continued uninterrupted at the site in one form or another until the fall of Louis XVI in 1789. By that time, the modest lodge had ballooned into a palace encompassing 51,210 square metres of floor space spread across 700 rooms, all parked on a manicured and tended estate of over 800 hectares (the gardens themselves contained 200,000 trees, 210,000 flowers, and 50 fountains made up of 620 jets).

It’s a baffling exercise to try and calculate how much the whole thing cost to build from start to finish, being as much of it was from the king’s personal purse and the fact that he could appropriate labour as necessary from the army when he needed something done in a hurry. The most recent estimated figure of approximately US$2 billion is speculative at best and most likely under-evaluated in many respects.

The Château de Versailles (or simply Versailles) is now widely recognized as a stunning example of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime (and a definition of wretched excess in general). The palace and its surrounding grounds were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

The site consists of several main and supplementary buildings and structures: the Grands Appartements (one set each for the king and queen), the Petits Appartements (one set each for the king and queen), the Galerie des Glaces, the chapels of Versailles (five in total), L’Opéra, the Ménagerie, the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon (made famous by Marie-Antoinette), the Pavillon de la Lanterne, the Grand Canal, and the numerous themed gardens.

Obviously, this is another one of those places you couldn’t possibly take in all of with a single visit. I’ve managed to get to Versailles only twice during my time in the Paris region. It’s not the 20km commute that’s the impediment to my visiting more often (train service to Versailles is fairly regular and quick); rather it’s the time — if I’m going to go, I’d like to set aside an entire day (which is something I find very difficult to schedule). Thus I haven’t really seen but the surface of the Château de Versailles.

I promise the next time I go, however, I will be bringing a better camera than the one in my cell phone…

I think you’re going to need more than a riding mower to tackle this lawn.

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Château de Versailles - Front Gates (2007)++Château de Versailles - Fountain for Watering Dogs (2007)++Château de Versailles - Appartements - Reception Room (2007)++Château de Versailles - Appartements - Alcove Statuary (2007)++Château de Versailles - Appartements - Hallway (2007)++Château de Versailles - Chapel (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds - Louis' Backyard (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds - Louis' Backyard (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds - the Orangery (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds - the Orangery (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Grounds (2007)++Château de Versailles - Le Grand Trianon (2007)++Château de Versailles - Le Grand Trianon (2007)++Château de Versailles - Le Petit Trianon (2007)++Château de Versailles - Le Petit Trianon (2007)++Château de Versailles - Le Petit Trianon (2007)++Château de Versailles - Le Petit Trianon (2007)++Château de Versailles - Le Petit Trianon (2007)++Château de Versailles - Le Petit Trianon (2007)++

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