Name: Palace of Versailles
Location: Near Paris
Ticket Prices: -
PALACE OF VERSAILLES
The Palace of Versailles was the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790. It was originally a hunting lodge, built in 1624, by Louis XIII. It was expanded by Louis XIV beginning in 1669. He used it as a little lodge as a secret refuge for his amorous trysts with the lovely Louise de la Valliere and built a fairy tale park around it. Jules Hardouin Mansart, the king's principal architect, drew the plans to enlarge what was turning more and more into a palace from A Thousand and One Nights. The terrace that overlooked the gardens was removed to make way for the magnificent Hall of Mirrors, the Galarie de Glaces. It is here from which the king radiated his power and where the destiny of Europe was decided over a century. The French classical architecture was complemented by extensive gardens.
In 1682, Louis XIV chose Versailles as the fixed residence of the sovereigns. Versailles became the superb Baroque palace known to the world as a symbol of civilization and pleasure.
The palace was stripped of most of it's furnishings during the French Revolution, and Tuileries in Paris became the royal residence. Versailles is now a national museum.
“The wands of smoke are rising From the walls of the Bastille …“
The Bastille was a fortress and prison in Paris. When construction was started in 1370 it was intended to augment the city's defenses. By the 17th century, however, is was being used as a prison. It was rumored to house hundreds of political prisoners, including Voltaire and the Marquis de Sade.
On July 14, 1789 a mob gathered outside the Bastille, demanding the munitions stored there. The Marquis de Launay refused to surrender, and the building was stormed. Only 7 prisoners were found inside, and the Bastille was destroyed soon after.
“The Kings have all departed Their servants are nowhere …“
In October 1789 a mob forced the royal family to leave Versailles for Paris. A Constituent Assembly followed the court, and worked on developing a new constitution until September 1791.
The king, horrified by many of the changes that were taking place, attempted to flee the country in June 1791. He, and his family, were stopped at Varennes and brought back to Paris.
Louis XVI was condemned to death for treason, and was executed on January 21, 1793.
ROBESPIERRE, MAXIMILLION MARIE ISADORE
(1758 - 1794)
“We burned out all their mansions In the name of Robespierre …“
Robespierre is considered to be one of the most important leaders of the French Revolution.
Robespierre fought for universal suffrage, unrestricted entry into the national guard and public offices, and he opposed the royal veto. He also defended actors, Jews and Negro slaves.
When the Convention first sat in September 1792 Robespierre was accused of dictatorship by the Girdonist faction. He intervened 11 times during the trial of Louis XVI, and his speech on December 3 rallied those who were hesitant to take action against the king.
On July 27, 1793 he became a member of the Committee of Public Safety. While his colleagues were either away on assignments or otherwise occupied, Robespierre assumed control of the committee. His actions helped intensify the Reign of Terror.
French military victories lessened the popularity of his regime, and he was overthrown. He was arrested on July 28, 1794. He attempted suicide, but was guillotined the next day.
“Inside the midnight councils The lamps are burning low …“
The National Assembly decreed the abolition of the feudal regime and the tithe on the night of August 4, 1789. On August 26 it introduced the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen”.
The Constituent Assembly furthered these reforms, proclaiming the revolutionary idea that people had the right of self determination.
In September 1792 a new assembly, the Convention, met. It proclaimed an end to the monarchy and established the republic. The convention introduced governmental limitations on prices, declared that education should be free and compulsory, imposed taxes on the rich and made other economic and social “reforms”. Opposition was broken by the Reign of Terror. More then 300,000 people were arrested, and more then 17,000 were executed.
BONEPARTE, NAPLOEON (1769 - 1821)
“And Boneparte is coming With his army from the south …“
Napoleon Boneparte's rise to power was in large part due to the military skills demonstrated during the French Revolution. In early writings (“Souper de Beaucaire”) he called for united action by urging republicans to rally around the Jacobins and the Convention of Paris.
At the end of August 1793 the Convention's armies, under the command of J.F. Carteaux had taken Marsailles, but they were stopped before Toulon. The royalistshad called in British forces to assist them.
The commander of the Convention's artillery was wounded, and a friend of Napoleon's family got the post for him on September 17. He was promoted to “chef de battalion” on September 29, and adjutant general, head of brigade on October 7.
On December 17 the British, harassed by artillery, evacuated Toulon. French troops entered the town on December 19, and Napoleon was promoted to brigadier general on December 22.
Commissioner to the army Augustine Robespierre wrote to his brother Maximillien praising Napoleon. On February 7, 1974 Boneparte was appointed commandant of the artillery.
Royalists attempted to seize power in Paris, but the attempt was put down by Naploeon Boneparte and his troops on October 5, 1795.
MARAT, JEAN PAUL (1743 - 1793)
“Marat your days are numbered …“
Marat was born in Switzerland. He studied medicine in France, Holland and Britain before settling in Paris to become a physician. He hoped to win wider fame with philosophical and scientific writings, but had little success.
From September 1789 on, his newspaper (L'Ami du Peuple) called for many executions and the appointment of a temporary dictator. He was forced to seek refuge in England twice because of his writings. He was very popular in Paris, however, because his compassion for the poor and his concern for social justice was real.
Although he was never a member of a formal political group, his sympathies lay with the radical Jacobins. The more moderate Girondists attempted to discredit Robespierre by associating him with Marat.
In 1793 he was sent to the Revolutionary Tribunal for inciting “patriots”. He was acquitted and reinstated in the National Convention on April 24.
On July 13, 1793 he was stabbed to death in his bath by Charlotte Corday, a supporter of the Girdonists.
The Jacobins exploited the assassination of Marat, using it to lay the groundwork for the Reign of Terror which followed.
Kim Dyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) March 6, 1995
Nicole, 17, from Naples, FL, USA. wrote:
Versailles is beautiful. I went with the baron collier marching band to Paris over the Christmas and new years break of 2000-2001. The gardens were beautiful and the palace itself was really neat. I especially liked the kings chapel that was at the beginning of the tour. The artwork was something to see, there were many depictions of either Greek or roman gods. The kings clock was also pretty neat. There were a few original tapestries and floor coverings in the palace and it is definably a place to visit. The hall of mirrors was also great. Another great palace to visit is the Louve. They have converted most of it into a museum and you can see many of great artworks there including the statue of Aphrodite (or Venus), Mona Lisa, and the Crown Jewels.
Ellen, 15, from Alaska, wrote:
Versailles is so rich and beautiful that it is almost tiring! There are so many little cool things- for example, if you look at the floor in the hall of mirrors one way, the wood looks dark, then if you turn around, it is light!
Jimmy, 14, from North Eastern, USA, wrote:
Versailles is not a castle it is known as a palace that was used by the kings of France. One of the most famous who lived there was Louis XIV. Even though this is an enormous place it's not a chateau. Besides that fact this place is simply amazing but often hard to get through because it is so crowded but the art work in it is simply amazing.
Kyle Walsh, 16, from Michigan USA, wrote:
Versailles is an absolutely awesome palace. It is probably the best in the entire world. The building is not only massive, but every square foot is beautiful and you can really see the true power of the monarchs at the time. If you have the opportunity to go anywhere, go to Paris and make that little trip out to Versailles, because it is an experience you will never forget. Don't hesitate to E-mail if you have more questions.
Jenni Zhu, 13, from California, wrote:
When I arrived in Paris, on Sep.9th, my first impulse was to visit the Chateau of Versailles, when my dad and his friend finally took my sister and I to the castle, I was so tooken back. The Chateau means a lot to me, I really liked the interior, the Hall of Mirrors and the Queen's Apartments, I think are the best in the main part. The gardens, when I went, was in the winter, but besides that, there was an storm of some sort and it destroyed the forests and gardens and broke the exterior
of the Chateau the year before. But the majesty of the palace was overwhelming.
Rachel Saincere Saint-Just, 15, from Paris France, wrote:
Visiting Le Palace de Versailles was a stunning experience for me. So much feeling, memory, and history emerged from every gilded door of what was once a splendid home for the French nobility of my ancestry…something I had never felt before. The utmost care, material, luxury, taste, and thought was invested in every ornate and glimmering detail in this palace. When I visited the Summer Cottage of le former Archduchess of Austria, who's name was changed for the sake of our former court's etiquette, Maria Antonia, and the Grand Trianon, a blanket of serenity and comfort permeated through my nerves as I watched the blue ponds, lush green grasses, bright and joyous flowers, and all the color and life through the gardens and halls of the grand palace. Some tears streamed down my cheeks from the thought of the aristocracy being guillotined in the Pasta Le Crepe in front of jeering crowds of the Republic, after being escorted from their loved life at the court.
Lana Clark, 17, from Michigan USA, wrote:
Versailles is sooo beautiful compared to what we have here in the States. The castle itself was gorgeous, but my favorite part was walking around the gardens and seeing Marie Antoinette's little farmhouse. I went with a tour group in the summer, and everything was green. It was one of my favorite places in Paris.
Katrina, 20, from Matlock Washington, USA, wrote:
Versailles, is a wonderful castle. It is beautiful and awe inspiring. But if you go to see it make sure that you schedule a lot of time to do so. It is large, and you won't want to miss anything. The fountains are great. It took so much water to run all of the fountains in Versailles that they only turned them on when the King went by. Now they run them one day a week. If you want to see them be sure to find out which day.
Sharon, 42, from Arkansas, wrote:
Versailles - too beautiful to really describe. Many beautiful things set in beautiful rooms. The walls and ceilings would be wanderfull to see even if there wasn't anything in them! You would really need to spend several days going through the whole place. The palace alone has many wonderful rooms to go through. Then the gardens with the fountains and statues is another great place to see. You really need to spend at least one day here!
Deonte Kelly, 21, from London, England, wrote:
I once visited Versailles, and when I went I didn't want to go back to London. The castles interior was so precious that I can't even describe it. One place I did visit while in the castle was the Hall of Mirrors. It was extravagant. I've seen many castles before but none like this one. Although, Chambord's exterior and interior was magnificent. I commend the architects of this magnificent building
Heather Allen, 17, from Kansas wrote:
Versailles is an outstandingly beautiful place. However, the Trianons were not built by Marie-Antionette. She built the hamlets. The Trianons were constructed by Louis XIV's mistress Mme. Pompadour. She suggested that there should be a building in the French gardens and there was one built directly after.
Heather, from USA wrote:
I think that Versailles is the best castle that I went to while I was in France. It is not only astounding in size, but also very beautiful. You could explore the Versailles castle for days and find something new each time. I love Petite Trianon and Grande Trianon, which located away from the actual castle. They were built by Marie Antoinette. There is a cute miniature village there, with houses and everything. Versailles is awesome and I would recommend it to anyone who will be in the area.
Marc G, from Montreal wrote:
Versailles is a magnificent palace. The first day I went there, the palace was closed, so I spent the whole day outside in the gardens. The gardens alone can take several days of exploration. They're magnificent. The inside's also spectacular.