Versailles Palace

Surprisingly Versailles Palace, one of the most expensive buildings ever constructed, started out as a simplistic hunting lodge for Louis XIII (which meant the lodge itself wasn’t simplistic but the usage of the lodge remained solely for hunting). From this lodge, built in 1624, began the expansion that eventually became the royal residency from 1682 until 1789. There were four men in charge of the expansion of the hunting lodge into the palace: Louis Le Vau (architect), Andre Le Nortre (landscape artist), Charles Le Brun (painter and decorator), and Jules Hardouin-Mansart (who took over in 1676 as the architect). The palace remained “a work in progress” for many years and in 1680, Louis XIV employed 36,000 bricklayers in order to add more wings and outbuildings. One of the major attractions was the Hall of Mirrors, which was filled with crystals (giving a small example of how much of an expenditure this palace was for the French aristocracy). Following this construction, the Seven Year’s War, and some other additions to the palace, the French went bankrupt in 1788. This forced Louis XVI to call for the Estates-General, which marked the beginning of the fall of the monarchy.

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