Famous Places in France
Le Château de Versailles
In 1624, King Louis XIII built a hunting lodge in the village of Versailles, outside Paris. This building was enlarged by the next king - Louis XIV - who turned it into the magnificent and enormous palace that we see today.
In French, this palace is called le Château de Versailles. It is situated in the département called Yvelines which belongs to the région called Île-de-France. The palace has hundreds of rooms and it is famous for its luxurious and extravagant style and furnishings.
The gardens of the palace are among the most famous gardens in the world. The palace and its grounds have the status of a UNESCO world heritage site - le patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO.
Below is a photo of the famous Hall of Mirrors in the le Château de Versailles. This hall is called la Galerie des Glaces and it was created by King Louis XIV in the 17th century. At that time, mirrors were one of the most expensive items you could buy.
Within the palace grounds there is a separate, small palace called le château du Petit Trianon. (Picture below.) This building and the surrounding gardens were the special retreat of the queen Marie-Antoinette in the 1700s. It was a relaxing, tranquil place, away from the formality and royal duties of the grand palace.
King Louis XIV
The Designer of le Château de Versailles
Louis XIV is probably the most famous king of French history. His nickname was le Roi-Soleil, meaning 'the Sun King'. He was King of France from 1643 to 1715.
His reign is associated with brilliance and magnificence, like a shining star. This magnificence can be seen in the décor of le Château de Versailles and in the king's image as seen in his portraits.
His personal motto was "Au-dessus du reste des hommes," meaning, 'Above all other men.'
His emblem was the sun - le soleil.