Affected by new corona epidemic, on March 13 local time, Palace of Versailles announced that it would be closed to public. The last time Versailles was closed was due to World War II.
On June 6 local time, after 83 days of closure, Palace of Versailles has finally reopened. But epidemic prevention measures have taken a toll on this once-crowded popular tourist destination.
Image Source: European Times
According to French media reports, Palace of Versailles has lost 45 million euros since introduction of lockdown measures. Although it has been reopened, number of tourists is still significantly reduced compared to previous period, around 10,000 per day. You should know that at this time in previous years there were at least 30,000 daily visitors.
Located in southwestern suburbs of Paris, Palace of Versailles is one of five largest palaces in world. At first it was just a wasteland full of swamps. In 1624, then French King Louis XIII bought land and built a two-story red brick building as his hunting palace.
In 1661, Sun King Louis XIV wanted to move royal court from Paris, where there was constant civil unrest, so he decided to expand palace. At that time, a third of French state budget was spent on construction of palace. After expansion, Palace of Versailles has over 1,200 rooms, while previous palace only had 26 rooms, enough to show extent of expansion.
The Palace of Versailles that we see today looks like it looked after expansion of Louis XIV, and after it there was no expansion.
In 1682, Louis XIV announced transfer of French court from Paris to Versailles. In fact, construction of Palace of Versailles was not yet completed at that time, only in 1710 palace and gardens of Versailles were completed.
To strengthen royal power, Louis XIV invited all main nobles of country to live in Versailles, and almost all political decisions were made in Palace of Versailles. Thus, initially unknown city of Versailles became political and cultural center of France.
The Palace of Versailles covers an area of more than 1.11 million square meters, while building area is only 110,000 square meters, rest of area is occupied by gardens. From a bird's eye view, entire Palace of Versailles has strict symmetry.
The interior decoration of Palace of Versailles is brilliant and magnificent. All exhibited furniture is unique in form and exquisite in craftsmanship. There are also many sculptures and oil paintings of high artistic value, as well as exquisite tapestries.
Ascension of Hercules - Ceiling painting of Hall of Hercules. With a total area of 480 square meters, this is one of largest domed paintings in Europe. French artist François Lemoine took three years to paint it. It is a pity that, due to many years of colossal pressure, he decided to commit suicide after completion of the work.
The Military Gallery is longest gallery in Palace of Versailles. It was originally residence of princes and princes, after Palace of Versailles was turned into a museum, more than 30 oil paintings depicting main battles of French history and more than 80 statues of famous generals are exhibited here.
The wedding of Lang Lang and Gina took place here. (Lang Lang is cultural exchange ambassador of Palace of Versailles).
The Hall of Mirrors is most famous hall of Palace of Versailles. There are 17 floor-to-ceiling mirrors made up of 482 lenses reflecting exquisite murals of dome. Also hanging from ceiling are 24 huge Bohemian crystal chandeliers. In past, it was used to receive foreign envoys and hold balls.
After end of World War I, it was here that Treaty of Versailles was signed. Now tables and chairs, on which meeting was held at that time, have been preserved in hall of mirrors.
Garden - The Garden of Palace of Versailles is a masterpiece of classical French gardening and one of most beautiful gardens in world. It covers an area of 6.7 hectares and is 3 kilometers long. The garden has 1,400 fountains and a 1.6 km long artificial canal.
The Grand Canal is center of Versailles Gardens and took eleven years to build. And all because Louis XIV wanted canal to compete with canals of Venice. Louis XIV also staged mock naval battles on this canal.
The magnificent Palace of Versailles shows us last glory of Bourbon dynasty.
In 1789, French Revolution broke out. Louis XVI was beheaded on guillotine on legs of Parisians. Versailles also ended its history as a French court.
During French Revolution, hatred of people for royal family and nobles became more and more serious, and Palace of Versailles was plundered many times. Almost all furniture and frescoes in palace were taken out, and doors and windows were broken and demolished.
In 1793, remaining works of art in Palace of Versailles were transferred to Louvre for preservation. In 1833, King Louis Philippe ordered restoration of Palace of Versailles and turned it into a historical museum.
If you have opportunity, you should go to Palace of Versailles to find out how extravagant life of royal family was during heyday of Bourbon dynasty.
Amway's powerful French drama "Versailles" provides a vivid glimpse into French royal life and political struggles during Louis XIV period. The specific representation of this drama can be seen in our previous tweets recommended by French dramas.
Image: from web
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