The Palace of Versailles has become a watchword for shameless opulence and extravagance. It began as a hunting estate and was built in various stages over the course of about a century by Louis XIV and his successor, his great-grandson, Louis XV, and Louis XV's grandson, Louis XVI, whose wife was Marie Antoinette. Much of it was paid for by "private" funds of the kings (such as from estates, and from New France (Canada; a private possession of the crown)) and little expense was spared in its construction and decoration. Louis XIV required much of the French aristocracy to reside at Versailles as he centralized his absolute monarchy. At the beginning of the French Revolution, Louis XVI and his family abandoned Versailles and moved back to the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Later, Napoleon and his various successors occupied the palace, until the final demise of French monarchy and empire in 1870 and the establishment of the Third Republic. Today Versailles is one of the biggest tourist attractions in France, and at the same time a ceremonial edifice for the political branches of the French Fifth Republic.
Categories & Keywords
Category:Architecture and Structures
Subcategory:Places of Interest
Keywords:France, Grand Trianon, Hameau de la Reine, Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Paris, Petit Trianon, Versailles