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Palace of Versailles – France

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When in France do not miss to see the things which are exclusively French like the Palace of Versailles which is better known as the Château de Versailles. Hailing back to the seventeenth century when Versailles was more of a village, about 20 kilometres on the southwest of Paris, Louis XIV converted his father’s hunting accommodation to the mammoth Palace of Versailles. It remained the French political centre from 1682 to 1789 when during the onset of the French Revolution; the royal family was forced to return to Paris.

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Versailles first attracted Louis XIII when he was invited by Albert de Gondi and the scenic beauty of the place encouraged him to build an accommodation for his hunting trips. Following that his successors decided to not only expand the lodge in to a grand palace but also shifted the power centre from Paris to Versailles. The expansion venture of the Palace of Versailles took place in four campaigns. While the first one involved the rebuilding of the chateau and the garden so that about 600 guests could be accommodated. The second one gave it the appearance which is retained even today. The grand apartments and suites were built during this time. In the third phase the further current look was achieved when the Hall of Mirrors, the north and south wings, and the Orangerie were brought to form. The focus of the fourth phase was the Royal Chapel which was completed by Robert de Cotte under the design of Hardouin-Mansart.

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Louis XV gave further modifications to the Palace of Versailles though it was not as extensive as that taken place before.  However, the French Revolution took the monarchy back to Paris leaving the Palace of Versailles to people of Versailles and then to various political and royal powers over the decades. It is during the Fifth Republic of France that the Palace of Versailles got converted in to a tourist attraction. Though the important political functions still take place over there but the museum and the exhibitions taking place draw a significant number of tourists.

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The main floor of the Palace of Versailles contains the grand apartments where the king and queen resided. The King’s Apartments thus make an important place to visit. Apart from that there is the Hamlet of Mary Antoinette, the Hall of Mirrors, the Grand Trianon, the Chapel of Versailles, the L’Opera, and last but not least the Museum which showcases the history of France. The surroundings of the Palace of Versailles are occupied by the Gardens of Versailles which showcase the designs of French Gardens.

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The magnificence of the Palace of Versailles has made it a venue for a number of musical extravaganzas in the modern times like The Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour of Pink Floyd, the concert of Tina Turner, the French Live 8, and the Pocket Symphony Tour of Air.

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Visitors can see the Palace of Versailles with the help of guided tours which ask for tickets. Access to the location is possible through trains, coaches, and cars.

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