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Did You Know? Facts About Versailles

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1. The future palace was initially no more than a hunting lodge, used by Louis XIII due to the fact that the region was ripe with game. So the king bought a chateau and lived there from time to time, when he came on hunting trips. But nobody could have imagined that later the former chateau would become a modern day wonder. The "guilty" one was the famous Sun King, Louis XIV, who began a project which was expensive, huge, difficult and took a lot of time and especially hard work. A project worthy of a French monarch.

2. The costs were simply impossible to believe today, and taking inflation into account we are talking of at least 200 billion dollars, and more akin to 300 billion (in today's money). While the sum might seem just an exageration or a myth, according to researchers this residence, no matter how beautiful and impressive it is today, was simply a crazy and nearly impossble endeavour. The simple numbers are rather well known: 700 rooms, over 60 staircases, about 1200 fireplaces, but did you know that King Louis XIV regarded this as the most important of his projects? Or that he needed about 35 000 workers to put it all together, going time and time again over budget. If we could find another historical project of this size and huge costs the Great Wall of China or the architectural achievements in Ancient Egypt might be safe choices.

3. Louis XIV has such a passion for fountains that he ended up spending about one third of the whole budget just for these. He wanted the best materials, the finest stone, the most impressive and largest designs, and didn't hesitate to contact the best craftsmen. Just as much attention was payed to the furniture, the interior decorations, general architecture, paintings, statues and so on. The King simply wanted Versailles to be a wonder of his time. And he succeeded.

4. On special events the palace was simply turned into something else, new and exciting for that time, using several thousand candles and gorgeus chandeliers to bring light to the interiors. So it was then that the so-called "corridor of light" was first invented, and in an age when so much light seemed like a breakthrough it was another detail which made Versailles

5. It is interesting to know that, although it was the cherished project of the King, the Palace of Versailles could be visited once it was completed, and the general public could not only come here to meet the monarch, but simply to just walk around, take a stroll, chat with their friends. Like a huge park and a glorious mansion, and even if sometimes the statues and decorative elements in the gardens were damaged the King decided to let them keep the privilege.


Photo: palaceversailles.com
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Same subject: king | park | monarch | furniture | budget | costs | Louis XIV
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