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Palace of Versailles — Photo Collection

The Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles in French) which began life as a hunting lodge for Louis XIII (1601–1643) is now the grandest, most famous and most visited chateau in France.

Transformed by Louis XIII’s son, Louis XIV (Sun King 1638–1715), who moved the court and government of France there in 1682 and with further improvements by each of the three French kings who resided there until the French Revolution, The Palace of Versailles has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30+ years.
The Palace of Versailles now serves as the Museum of the History of France.
The Gardens of Versailles cover some 800 hectares with famous fountains dating from the time of Louis XIV with some original hydraulics still in use.
The gardens are mostly landscaped in the French formal garden style (jardin à la française) based on symmetry and the imposition of order over nature with Italian Renaissance influence in its geometrically shaped planting beds (parterres), stairways and ramps connecting different levels, mythological themed statuary, lakes, ponds and fountains.

Palace of Versailles

Three architects —Le Vau, Hardouin-Mansart and Gabriel—are credited with the design of the Palace of Versailles.

Entrance to Palace of Versailles

 

The Fifth Chapel at Versailles is dedicated to Saint Louis, patron saint of the Bourbons.

Palace of Versailles archicetural detail

 

Chapel of Versailles tribune level.

Versailles Chapel

 

The Hall of Mirrors’ 17 mirror clad arches reflect 17 arcaded windows overlooking the gardens.

Versailles Hall of Mirrors

 

Statues and columns on the exterior side of the Hall of Mirrors

Statues on the exterior of the Palace of Versailles

 

More architectural detail and statues.

Sculpture and statues on the Palace of Versailles

 

Rooms in the grand apartment du roi of the Palace of Versailles, designed by LeVau,
were dedicated to the then known seven planets and their associated titular Roman deity.

Statue at Versailles

 

The Salon de Vénus (above and below) features marble walls, ceiling paintings and a statue of young Louis XIV.

Interior at Palace of Versailles

 

This room was known as the Abundance Salon (salon de l'abondance).
The doors led to the Cabinet of Curiosities or the Rarities of Louis XIV.

Palace of Versailles interior

 

Several pools in the gardens are surrounded with metal sculptures, some of which serve as fountains.

Metal sculpture at the Palace of Versailles

Fountains in the gardes at Versailles

 

Only 607 of the original 1,400 fountains survive today.
To conserve water the king ordered just the fountains he passed on his daily strolls to be activated.

Formal gardens and fountain at Versailles

 

More than 300 statues, vases and busts decorate the garden paths.

Statue in the garden at Versialles

 

Sight lines from the palace continued to infinity illustrating the king’s vast control.

Gardens, fountain and lake at Versailles

 

The fountain in the foreground, below, is the Bassin d’ Apollon. The Grand Canal was the creation of André Le Nôtre.

Boats on the lake at Versailles

 

The Latona Fountain is scheduled to be restored to its original design beginning in late 2012 and taking 16 months.

Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles

 

The Versailles Orangerie was completed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart before work on the castle had begun.
Orange trees in boxes are placed in the lower bed from May to October.

The Versailles Orangerie

 

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