Visit the iconic Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles) and it’s phenomenal gardens, the former French royal residence and center of government, located southwest of Paris.
As the center of the French court, Versailles was one of the grandest theatres of European absolutism. Under the guidance of Louis XIV (reigned 1643–1715), the residence was transformed into an immense and extravagant complex surrounded by stylized French and English gardens. Every detail of its construction was intended to glorify the king. The additions were designed by such renowned architects as Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Robert de Cotte, and Louis Le Vau and Charles Le Brun oversaw the interior decoration. Landscape artist André Le Nôtre created symmetrical French gardens that included ornate fountains with “magically” still water, expressing the power of humanity and, specifically, the king over nature.