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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

The Marble Courtyard

Versailles

17th century

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The Palace of Versailles and its gardens are massive - with over 2,000 rooms and 8,000 ha of gardens.

Building it cost billions and running around 25% of the French national budget per year!

It was built as a massive extension to Louis XIV's father's hunting lodge.

You can still see the outline of the lodge as you walk up to the Palace from the courtyard.

Fun fact : the marble floor initially belonged to Louis XIV's Finance Minister, Fouquet.

Fouquet's wealth and flamboyant lifestyle threatened the king's.

So Louis XIV threw him in prison, confiscated his chateau, and hired his chief artists and architects to work on Versailles.

Anyone could walk around Versailles - so long as they wore a hat and a sword.

The palace was milling with people.

So much so that a man stabbed Louis XV in this courtyard.

He was swiftly dealt with : burnt with hot oil and a hot poker and killed by dismemberment - 4 horses were attached to his arms and legs and then galloped in different directions!

La Joconde, de Vinci (1519)

Next:

The King's Apartments

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