There is just something about Paris, France that draws in millions of visitors every year. Maybe it is the cobbled streets, or the picturesque cafes down small alleys, or perhaps it is the “love in the air”. In the City of Lights, there is just so much to do and explore. Millions of tourists flock to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower every year, but only a few miles away lies another jewel, a palace so magnificent the gods wept at its beauty. The Palace of Versailles is a stunning structure built by Louis XIV to glorify France during the 16th century, and it exudes French sophistication and extravagance. Louis spent years transforming a mediocre hunting lodge into a grandiose palace, perfecting every last detail. This opulent palace however, had its own secret agenda to lure the government out of Paris and into the Versailles under Louis’ watch. The beautiful 16th century Palace of Versailles alludes to the powerful rule of Louis XIV but it also serves as a gilded cage to his court, all while exemplifying French Baroque architecture and elegance.
The Palace of Versailles leads back to the regime of Louis XIV. Louis inherited the crown in 1643 at the young age of four, much too young to rule, especially in the midst of France’s chaos. Anne of Austria, his mother, and her Chief Minister, Cardinal Jules Mazarin, ruled on Louis’s behalf. Mazarin died in 1661,however, Louis took over with a revolutionary announcement: he would rule without a prime minister, thus all power will fall solely upon himself. He believed he was divinely appointed to lead France and used “L’Etat c’est moi” or “I am the State” as his motto. Louis chose the sun as his personal symbol of dominance, creating himself a legacy as the “Sun King” (History.com).
Throughout his rule, Louis XIV transformed France into a dominant European power. He worked with his finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to reduce France’s deficit. He also collaborated with Marquis de Louvois to strengthen and expand the French army (History.com). Under Louis’s guidance, France became a dominant European power and moved towards an age of peace, power, and prosperity. Versailles’ opulence is standing proof of his achievements and of his glory days.
Versailles originated as a quaint hunting lodge that his father visited from time to time due to its abundance of wildlife. Louis took an interest in Versailles during his courtship of Louise de La Valliere, as it was a place out of sight from the public his family’s prying eyes. Louis commenced renovations on this remote hunting lodge when he was twenty-three years old, and it became a lifelong project that continued on even after his death. By 1668, the hunting lodge was no more; its replacement became the most talked about grounds in France. Louis’ guests, including important figures from all over Europe, were awestruck by Versailles’ beauty (Spawforth 4). However, Louis did not just stop there; he hired a greater number of architects, artists and...