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The Palace of Versailles (/ /, vair-SY, vur-SY; French: château de Versailles [ʃɑto d(ə) vɛʁsɑj] ⓘ) is a former royal residence commissioned by King Louis XIV located in Versailles, about 19 kilometers (12 mi) west of Paris, France.
|Palace of Versailles
Château de Versailles (French)
Garden façade and fountains; Hall of Mirrors
|Classicalism and Baroque
|1661; 363 years ago (1661)
|Government of France
|Chateau and Park of Versailles
|Cultural: i, ii, vi
|1979 (3rd Session)
The palace is owned by the French Republic and since 1995 has been managed, under the direction of the French Ministry of Culture, by the Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles. About 15,000,000 people visit the palace, park, or gardens of Versailles every year, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.
Louis XIII built a simple hunting lodge on the site of the Palace of Versailles in 1623. With his death came Louis XIV who expanded the château into the beginnings of a palace that went through several changes and phases from 1661 to 1715. It was a favorite residence for both kings, and in 1682, Louis XIV moved the seat of his court and government to Versailles, making the palace the de facto capital of France. This state of affairs was continued by Kings Louis XV and Louis XVI, who primarily made interior alterations to the palace, but in 1789 the royal family and capital of France returned to Paris. For the rest of the French Revolution, the Palace of Versailles was largely abandoned and emptied of its contents, and the population of the surrounding city plummeted.
Napoleon, following his coronation as Emperor, used Versailles as a summer residence from 1810 to 1814, but did not restore it. Following the Bourbon Restoration, when the king was returned to the throne, he resided in Paris and it was not until the 1830s that meaningful repairs were made to the palace. A museum of French history was installed within it, replacing the apartments of the southern wing.
The palace and park were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979 for its importance as the center of power, art, and science in France during the 17th and 18th centuries. The French Ministry of Culture has placed the palace, its gardens, and some of its subsidiary structures on its list of culturally significant monuments.
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