The Palace of Versailles is the royal house built by King Louis XIV and his successors until the French Revolution. One of the famous tourist attractions, it has been a part of World Heritage Locations for a span of 30 years. The Palace demonstrates the highest pinnacle of the French art from the 19th century, having an Italian essence.
The first structure of the Palace is credited to Louis XIII (1624), who built it as a lodge for hunting. Louis XIV later further expanded the lodge into a palace. Other sections were added over the years including the Chapel, which was completed in 1710. While the expansions began in 1661, the complete place was ready by 1715.
The Palace of Versailles is built on a vast area spreading up to 63,154 m2.The section of the Palace facing the east was constructed in a U-Shaped format. The Dufour Pavilion, located to the South and the Gabriel Pavilion, located to the North form the Royal Court. Two asymmetrically humongous wings, which form a 402m façade, flank Cour Royale i.e. the Royal Court. The original part of the building is also preserved. The garden façade of the Palace holds the essence of the baroque style Italian villas, though it is caste in the classic French style. Enveloppe, a white ashlar stone was used to make the garden front.
Cour Royale (Court room)
It forms an apogee of the Palace’s royal architecture. Cour Royala or the Royal courtroom is made up from black and white marbles. Having a capacity of 3,000 people, it seated the Kings as well as the queens and other diplomats, ministers etc. of the king’s dynasty.
Balcony and Clock
At the centre of the old building, is a royal iron balcony which has a clock whose hands were stopped post the death of King Louis XIV There are other balconies and stone tables surrounding it.
Hall of Mirrors
It is located at the centre of the Palace, forming a gallery of 17 clad arches embedded with 17 mirrors. They reflect 17 windows of the Palace. The place is decorated by making use of 357 mirrors. The ceiling is decorated with ornamentations, which celebrate king’s apotheosis, glitz bronzes and polychrome marbles. These form the pinnacle of the Baroque art expression of France.
The Royal Opera is another famous room nested in the Palace, whose design was done by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1692-82. It forms a part of early Louis XVI architecture style. Approximately 1200 guests can be seated at a time in the Opera.
The Palace has 2,300 rooms, about 1250 fireplaces, over 2,000 windows and about 67 staircases. Apart from the private rooms of the royals, the Palace also has public apartments. Besides, there are Salons named after Roman gods like Hercules, Mars etc. The bearing of Italian tradition is depicted in the Mural Baroque styled paintings. There is also the Chapel in the Palace called the Chapel of Versailles.
The Palace of Versailles is surrounded by beautiful immaculate gardens, spread over 800 hectares. There are mesmerising fountains in the garden as well as statues and vistas that circle the Palace.