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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

The Marble Courtyard


17th century

Versailles is one of the world's most visited historical monuments - with around 10 million visitors per year!

It's massive - with over 2,000 rooms and 8,000 ha of gardens.

It was built as a proof of king Louis XIV's absolute power and as a ploy to lure the rebellious French nobility away from Paris.

Its construction cost the equivalent of hundreds of billions of dollars and running it around 25% of the French national budget per year!

The palace was initially Louis XIV's father's hunting lodge.

You can still see the original lodge when you stand in the courtyard.

The marble floor was confiscated from Louis XIV's Finance Minister, Fouquet.

Fouquet's extremel wealth and flamboyant lifestyle had threatened to overshadow the king.

So Louis XIV threw him in prison, confiscated his marble, and hired his chief artists and architects - Le Vau, Le Brun and Le Notre - to work on Versailles.