Thursday, 4 February 2010

Louis xiv moved his capita; to chateau de Versailles

Louis XIV had the Palace of Versailles, originally a hunting lodge built by his father, converted into a spectacular royal palace in a series of four major and distinct building campaigns, says Wikipedia.

By the end of the third building campaign, the château had taken on most of the appearance that it retains to this day, except for the current chapel built in the last decade of the reign. He officially moved there, along with the royal court, on 6 May 1682.

Louis had several reasons for creating such a symbol of extravagant opulence and stately grandeur, and for shifting the seat of the monarchy. The assertion that he did so because he hated Paris, however, is flawed as he did not cease to embellish his capital with glorious monuments while improving and developing it. On the other hand, contemporary writers such as Saint-Simon speculated that Louis viewed Versailles as an isolated power center where treasonous cabals could be more readily recognized.[15]

Versailles served as a dazzling and awe-inspiring setting for state affairs and for the reception of foreign dignitaries, where the attention was not shared with the capital and the people, but was assumed solely by the person of the king. Thus, many noblemen had perforce either to give up the cachet and opportunites associated with sharing in the king's company, or to depend entirely on the king for the grants and subsidies necessary to do so in proper style.[15] Instead of exercising power and potentially creating trouble, the nobles vied for the honour of dining at the king's table or the privilege of carrying a candlestick as the king retired to his bedroom.

From 1682, when King Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789, the Court of Versailles was the centre of power in Ancien Régime France. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy which Louis XIV espoused

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