Sunday, December 07, 2008
Versailles: the enormous palace of Louis XIV outside of Paris
When the château was built, Versailles was a country village, but it is now a suburb of Paris. From 1682, when King Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789, the Court of Versailles was the center of power in Ancien Régime France.
In 1660, Louis XIV was casting about for a site near Paris but away from the tumults and diseases of the crowded city. He had grown up in the disorders of the civil war between rival factions of aristocrats called the Fronde and wanted a site where he could organize and completely control a government of France by absolute personal rule.
He settled on the royal hunting lodge at Versailles, and over the following decades had it expanded into the largest palace in the world. Versailles is famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy which Louis XIV espoused.
French cuisine -
Sauce mayonnaise: often made by hand from a family recipe, mayonnaise is symbolic of the French interest in home-made food, emphasis on freshness and on purity of ingredients. Americans, acc to stereotype, default to convenience foods. We buy mayo from the supermarket almost exclusively.