Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Château de Versailles - Grand Canal and Fountain of Latona

In the late 1600's one of the world's most splendiferous edifices, the Palace of Versailles, was built by Louis the XIV.

Louis felt too close to the poverty and danger of the mobs of Paris when he was at the Palais Royale or Palace du Louvre. So he moved his capital to the countryside.

Extravagant and insensitive, he demanded that the nobles of France leave their chateaus and reside in Versailles. It eventually comprised ...
- 1000 nobles in residence..
- 5000 servants.
- 9000 soldiers.

Louis XIV took the name Le Roi Soleil, the Sun King, after he played that role in a ballet given at the palace. His emphasis on ballet was enormous. He also loved the hunt.

His expenditures on luxuries and his wars almost bankrupted the nation.

Louis XV was also extravagant. Sadly, he was a weak ruler.

In the time of Louis XVI the revolution of poor people came to pass. The monarchy was deposed. Louis and queen Marie Antoinette were sent to the guillotine. Some 40,000 people would be executed during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

The French Revolution lasted some 10 years - 1789 - 1799. The era was ended by the appearance of Napoleon.

The Bastille Prison, used for arbitrary and political prisoners, was symbolic of the hated aristocracy. The rebels attacked it as the first act of the revolution. The date of the attack was July 14, 1789, and is celebrated as independence day for France.

- L'Orangerie - 2000 orange trees
- 1,400 fountains
- 36,000 workers.

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