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Database: Village de Versailles

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When Louis XIII built his first hunting lodge in the village of Versailles in 1623, it was surrounded by vast forests where the King could indulge in his favorite sport. It was his son, Louis XIV, who decided to make it the central point of France. In the 1660s, he decided to construct a château commensurate with his ambition to control the French State. In actual fact, he left Paris behind for fear of the revolts he had known as a child during the Fronde. In short, he no longer wanted to be subject to the fervor of Parisian crowds. Between 1665 and 1680, some 25,000 men and 6,000 horses busied themselves daily. One team worked days, the other nights by torchlight (the Church apparently tolerated work on Sundays). The French king wanted the magnificence of the palace to reveal his unequaled power to the rest of Europe, as capable of "forcing nature" as he was of imposing his law on the world. Versailles was a showcase. Nothing short of perfection would be tolerated. *
* I find it hard enough to install decking. Mind you, I didn't have 6,000 horses to help me. Not that they're much good with hammers.
The village of Versailles would also quickly develop, if only to accommodate all the courtiers: in 1682 they numbered 6,000; by 1690 their number had reached 10,000. To ensure their continued presence in Versailles, Louis XIV determined that all buildings erected in Versailles be non-liable to seizure for debt, which made the village particularly attractive. Louis XV and Louis XVI would both make a great many changes to the château, while transforming the village into a hub from which the royal administration exerted its power. It was in the Salle des Menus Plaisirs (literally, the room of lesser pleasures) - essentially a storeroom for royal decorations and disguises - that the Estates-General were held in May 1789.

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