The original château had been built in 1623 by Louis XIII to serve largely as a hunting lodge. It had been a simple brick and stone structure of three wings built around a courtyard. See the original building. This building was left standing, perhaps for sentimental or political reasons, and the new palace enveloped the old château so that the original court fronts are still intact. This small family château about 20 kilometers from Paris was enlarged in the early 1660s by Louis Le Vau when the young Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, decided to make this his main residence. By 1682, Versailles became the official residence of the Court of France and the new seat of government. It was enlarged yet again to accommodate a court of 20,000--servants in the palace and military staff. By 1685, a huge work force was involved in the building, the decorating of the interiors, and the landscaping of an area that had been largely unbuilt.

The royal architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart altered the main block to add the impressive Hall of Mirrors as well adding side wings, and the Orangery and Stables. The Royal Chapel was completed in 1710 by Robert de Cotte. Later in the reign of Louis XV Jacques-Ange Gabriel built the Opera.

See the official site for more detailed information.

Index to Images


(4 images)

Garden Facade

(18 images)

Gardens, Fountains, and Sculpture

(13 images)

Fountain of Apollo

(7 images)

Petit Trianon

(2 images)

Hall of Mirrors

(17 images)

Triumph of Louis XIV, Salon of War, c. 1678-87

Antoine Coysevox
(3 images)

King's Bedroom and Queen's Bedroom and Throne Room

(11 images)

Royal Chapel

(8 images)

Portrait Bust of Louis XIV, 1665

Gianlorenzo Bernini,
(6 images)

Marie Antoinette and her children at Versailles, 1788

Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun
(1 image)

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© 2008 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.