|Chateau de Versailles|
Here are some critical dates marking the architectural evolution of the Palace of Versailles:
- 1624-1630 -Versailles is used by Louis XIII as a hunting lodge. The king who lives in Paris at the Tuileries likes to escape the rigors of the court and comes hunting in the dense forests the hamlet of Versailles.
- 1664-1668 -Louis XIV, is a young men who visits often Versailles for the hunting and to conducts parties or "fetes". He asks, architect Louis Le Vau to build a castle to accommodate his many guests.
|Vase du Soleil -Chateau de Versailles|
- 1669-1672-Louis XIV now married to Marie Therese of Spain asks the architect Le Vau to construct an extension at the northern end for the King and an extension at the southern end for the Queen the two sides being connected by a large terrace overlooking the gardens. Each semetrical extension was fitted with an enfilade of 7 rooms sumptuously appointed -- King and Queen Grand Apartments -
- 1675- after the completion of the new facade, Louis XIV called on the landscape architect Le Notre to design the gardens. They consisted in a central parterre in front of the new facade, a series of ornamental ponds surrounded by strip of lawn and flower beds, intimate bosquets, fanciful grottos and a variety of sculptures in groups and single figures which took all together 20 years to complete.
- 1682 - Louis XIV installs the royal permanent residence and seat of government in Versailles. More enlargement of the palace took place to house the growing royal family and some 4000 courtiers.
- 1678-1684-the construction of the Hall of Mirrors by architect Hardouin Mansard takes place to replace the terrace that linked the Queen and King Grand apartments which was leaking. The Grand Gallery as it was called in the 17th century, served daily as a passageway and a waiting and meeting place, frequented by courtiers and the visiting public. It measures 73 meters long and was outfitted with 357 mirrors. It also was used to receive diplomatic dignitaries, stage ceremonial balls and on the occasion of princely weddings like that of Marie Antoinette to the Dauphin, future Louis XVI in 1770. Later it was on 18 January of 1871 that the German Empire was created in the same Hall of Mirrors after the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and in 1919, the Hall of Mirrors was the setting for the signature of the Treaty of Versailles between Germany and the Allies that ended WWI.
- 1687 -1688 Louis XIV commissioned Jules Hardouin-Mansard to build a castle for his own personal use at the northern end of grand canal--The Grand Trianon.
- 1710 saw the completion of the King's Chapel by Hardouin-Mansart, the last grand project under Louis XIV. The monarch died in Versailles in 1715.
|Petit Trianon-Christian Millet|
Chateau de Versailles
- 1722 - Young Louis XV, successor of the Sun King, and his court returned to Versailles after a seven year absence. Under his reign he commissioned the creation of small apartments for private use by the royal family that were sumptuously furnished and decorated.
- 1760 -the Petit Trianon was built by architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel for the King as his pleasure retreat and where he installed his mistress Madame de Pompadour. It was later favored by the Queen Marie Antoinette as her own personal refuge.
- 1770 -Inauguration of the Royal Opera by Ange-Jacques Gabriel to be the setting for theatrical performances. It is here that was held the wedding of the Dauphin and Marie Antoinette in 1770.
- 1771-1775 saw the reconstruction of the Gabriel Wing intended to harmonize the facades of the Palace facing the town. It was partially completed.