Palace of Versailles – France

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The Palace of Versailles (in French: Château de Versailles ‘castle, mansion of Versailles’) is a building that served as a royal residence in past centuries. The palace is located in the municipality of Versailles, in Île-de-France. Its construction was ordered by Louis XIV, and is one of the most important monarchical architectural complexes in Europe.

With its three palaces, its gardens and its park, Versailles is an immense domain. Although Louis XIII built a hunting pavilion with a garden there, Louis XIV is its true creator, since it gave him his breadth and determined his destiny.

Louis XIV left Paris and decided to build Versailles as a small city away from problems. It would have several constructive stages, marked by the lovers of Louis XIV.

First stage (1661-1668): It would be a hunting palace to which two side wings were added that, when closed, formed the parade ground. They are brick facades and unifies the roof using also the slate and the mansards.
Second stage (1668-1678): Louis XIV intends to definitively transfer the court to Versailles. They add the two lateral wings to give visual priority to the garden, made by André Le Nôtre. The facade that overlooks the garden is built following the Italian model. A first floor of padded ashlars. A noble double-height floor with recessed bays, playing with entrances and projections and alternating columns and pilasters. Finally, a third floor that would be the attic, topped by a series of sculptural figures (trophies and vases) that almost do not let see the fall of the roof, which is not very inclined. Up to 20,000 people lived there.
Third and last stage (1678-1692): In this extension, made by Mansart, the royal chapel was built in the North wing of the Palace, at double height and with direct access to level zero from the outside, with the Royal Tribune located at the main floor, from where the King and his family attended the Mass.
The garden of Versailles is classicist, orderly, rationalized. With landscaping, circulation is forced. Create an organization that relates all the sculptures and sources and extols the monarchy. The sculptures point to each other. Progressive civilization of the garden: very orderly, pruned and cared for in the area next to the palace, and then it goes wild, that is to say it becomes wilder as we move away from the palace.

Three centuries after its creation, the domain is still considerable because it has 800 hectares, 20 km of roads, 200,000 trees, 35 km of pipelines, 11 hectares of roof, 2 153 windows and 67 stairs.

The whole palace and park of Versailles, including the Grand Trianon and the Small Trianon, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.

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