Versailles has had an indelible mark on world history. Many will immediately associate it with where the Treaty of Versailles was created and signed in 1919, as it ended the First World War that had been taking place for four years. However, its History runs a lot deeper than just over 100 years ago, with the Palace and Estate of the region having managed to celebrate four centuries recently.
September 2023 saw Versailles celebrate 400 years when it was born through Louis XIII. The son of Henry IV, Louis decided to make the location a place for his hunting lodge in 1623. While his father is said to have appreciated the area and the forests that surrounded the hamlet, it was only when Louis took full ownership of the lodge that it genuinely became as significant as it has in History today.
Louis XVIII’s Impact on Versailles
He had a palace built a few years after he decided to take full ownership of the region, but that was changed by the Sun King, Louis XIV, in 1661. As he looked to show the rest of Europe of his power and reign, he took his father’s building and turned it from one that was rather modest at the period to one that was extremely elegant and grandiose, making it one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It retains that status 400 years later, with visitors from all over the world in their millions continuing to visit France for the Palace and Estate.
Louis XIV added his Court to the location in 1682, a place two of his successors would remain very attached to. Both Louis XV and Louis XVI would remain in Versailles.
The 19th century saw some change because of the French Revolution that was experienced, but Versailles remained a hugely powerful political feature. It would be transformed into a museum by Louis-Philippe in 1837, as he curated it into an exhibition dedicated to France’s glories, something that it still does to this day. It also played an indelible mark on History later on, with the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871 and the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.
Its importance in History has made it a popular source of inspiration for various entertainment mediums, too, thus highlighting Versaille’s significance. There have been numerous movies about it, including Marie Antoinette, Lady Oscar, and The King’s Daughter. There have been games centered around the Palace and Estate, too, with Vivez Versailles and Versailles 1685 among them. An online slot called Versailles Gold is also available to play, and it has been argued to be one of the best Amusnet Interactive online slots ever launched, as it gives players a user experience that can be enjoyable.
What is Versailles used for today?
While Versailles has gone through a significant amount of History over the years, including a donation from Rockefeller in the 1920s to help save and preserve the Estate, it has recently been reopened to the general public as a visitor attraction.
The Gallery of the History of the Palace has since been renovated completely and was reopened to the entire public in September 2023, with a visit from King Charles and Queen Camilla having recently been attended as part of the British Royal Family’s visit to France. His mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, visited Versailles thrice.
She was a guest in 1948 – four years before her coronation, which was in 1952 – and 1958. Her last visit was in 1972 when it was part of her state visit, and it is widely believed that Charles is enjoying the ability to follow in his mother’s footsteps and do some of the many things she did when she was in power.
The gallery has been designed to serve as an introduction to the Palace for visitors, with it covering each of the four centuries for which it has been in existence. The exhibitions showcase how the Palace and Estate have been transformed while featuring various artworks and interactive arts that visitors can look at digitally and gain a greater appreciation and insight about.
There is a lot to take in and discover, with something always possible to learn with every visit to Versailles!