When it comes to French architecture, one of the most opulent and grand examples of a stunning chateau is the Palace at Versailles. Located some 15 miles southwest of Paris, this is the biggest royal property on earth. It was built in 17th century for the Sun King, Louis XIV. If you’ve never visited the palace, you should definitely include it in your bucket list of impressive global destinations.
Versailles consists of 721,206 square feet of regal beauty and was the seat of power in France between 1682 and 1789 until the French Revolution. Not only is Versailles a magnificent building in itself but also represents the symbol of absolute monarchy before the nation gradually became a republic. There is a total of 2,153 windows, over 1,000 fireplaces and more than 67 staircases connecting 700 rooms. For your own piece of French architecture, although possibly not as grand as Versailles, search for Property for sale in France at http://www.frenchpropertysearch.com/
During the upheaval and bloodshed of the French Revolution, the palace was almost destroyed. It survived but became much less important. During the 19th century the palace became the ‘Museum of the History of France’ at the request of Louis-Philippe I who came to the throne in 1830, before the revolution of 1848 which saw his abdicated.
One of the most ornate and famous rooms of the palace is the Hall of Mirrors. It contains 17 massive mirrored arches that sit opposite 17 windows. Each individual arch contains 21 mirrors which make the already large room seem even bigger. The ceilings are decorated with intricate paintings and statues stand against the walls. Glass chandeliers hang majestically from the ceiling, making this an incredibly bright and stunning room. It has been lit with 20,000 candles to make it a massive corridor of beautiful light.
The incredible gardens of Versailles stretch out over almost 2,000 acres to make it one of the biggest gardens on earth. It contains over 200,000 flowers and the same number of trees. Both the palace and the gardens were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. There are more than 50 stunning fountains that boast over 600 jets with many still using the same hydraulics as when they were first installed. The gardens are famed the world over for their geometric terraces, ponds and canals. Louis XIV spent a third of the total building budget on the fountains alone and there are around 400 sculptures found in the gardens.
The palace also contains a theatre and opera house. The interior is almost completely wood that was painted to look like marble. It is this wooden interior that gives the opera house its amazing acoustics. It can seat up to 700 guests.
During the French Revolution, much of the furniture and art was either sold or moved into museums. Thankfully, during the palace’s restoration, original pieces were returned to be placed in the palace museum. It was originally decorated with approximately 6,000 paintings and almost the same amount of furniture pieces.