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Versailles- The Beginning

September 23, 2012

The first time I ever went to Versailles, was when I was 13 years old. I remember being in awe of the immense architectural structures and gardens. So I knew that one of the major outings of this trip to Paris was going to be to return.

When the original Château de Versailles was built, Versailles was a quiet country village; today, however, it is a suburb 20 minutes outside of Paris. Versailles was the center of political power in France from 1682 to 1789 when the royal family was forced to return to the capital after the beginning of the French Revolution.

At the entrance of the château stands the Royal Gate. The original was melted down in 1793, but a replacement now stands in it’s place.

The château has become one of the largest castles in the world. It contains more than 2,000 windows, 700 rooms, 1250 fireplaces, 67 staircases and the entire property takes up 2,100 acres.

The original garden facade by Le-Vau was comprised of this one structure with a deep set back in the center of the facade of the first floor. Unlike many French buildings with steep roofs, this palace has a flat Italianate roof with a balustrade. Hardouin-Mansart, the main architect after about 1677, altered this garden facade by adding huge wings on both sides of the central block for offices, the royal chapel, and theater taking the total length more than 600 yards.

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