At the end of the 17th century, the King of France, Louis XIV, wanted somewhere to live that reflected his emblem: the sun! So, he had the hunting lodge of his father, Louis XIII, transformed into a castle. It was 30 km from Paris, in Versailles. From 1682 to 1715, Louis XIV lived there surrounded by his court and his government.
But what was so special about Château of Versailles?
It is spectacular! Louis XIV thought big: majestic buildings and 8,000 ha of parkland, 10 times bigger than it is today! Nowadays, Versailles is the 3rd most visited place in France; more popular than the Eiffel Tower. Each year, millions of tourists come to see the famous Hall of Mirrors; there are 357 mirrors. But also the King’s apartments, a suite of state rooms and the sumptuous royal chamber. Outside, they can admire French style formal gardens, the Grand Canal… And the fountains and water features designed by Le Nôtre, the Sun King’s gardener.
In 1837, King Louis Philippe created the Museum of French history inside the Château. Today, Versailles belongs to the French Republic that uses it for grand occasions. Such as in 1919, when the peace treaty to end World War I was signed in the Hall of Mirrors. Its name? The Treaty of… Versailles!