Louis XIV and the Palace of Versailles

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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).

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