The Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles started as a small hunting lodge in 1624. The Hamlet of Versailles was known as a fertile hunting grounds when King Louis XIII went there as a boy. By the time his great grandson was guillotined in 1793 it had a population of 60,000 and was the home to the government of France.
From a small slightly gothic hunting lodge grew a micro study of the history of architecture. Versailles has the best examples of Baroque and Rococo interiors still in existence. This one palace started building and decorating trends that would appear from Sweden to London, to St. Petersburg and finally America. It started interior styles still popular today.
Imagine all because The Sun King repurposed his father hunting lodge! Above is a slideshow showing a brief chronology of the building of Versailles.
1- The small hunting lodge of Louis XIII morphed into a small chateau.
Louis XIV – The Sun King
2- The Sun King Louis XIV started a three-part building spree which lasted his lifetime, It included two major architects, interior designers and the most impressive garden and garden innovations the fountains, ever built.
Phase 1 – Envelope the original hunting lodge into a massive winged structure.
Phase 2 – Add two more massive wings, make the outdoor patio into the Hall of Mirrors, add staff quarters and stables.
Phase 3 – Add a small palace for yourself (The Sun King needed his privacy) The Grand Trianon and the Royal Chapel.
The population of Versailles had grown to 10,000 and included all the members of government and places to house them
3 – No slowing down on the building spree fro 15. Louis XV built the Opera house (for the marriage of Louis the XVI and Marie Antoinette, the Petite Trianon and the Orangerie, to house the botanical gardens. He also added a few hamlets because after all they needed somewhere to house the staff.
4 – Finally, Marie Antoinette completely refurbished the Petite Trillion – a gift to her from King Louis XVI – with new gardens and a small theater. All because she wanted some privacy. After all, Versailles had grown to 60,000 residence.
Today, thanks to the French government, Versailles is preserved as a monument to French history. It is also a monument to 175 years of architectural and interior design.