WA

History

From the regal grip of the Ancien Regime to the drafting of the Versailles Treaty in 1919, Versailles has been at the helm of French power for centuries.

From 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789, the court of Versailles was the center of political power in France.

Beginning in 1669, architect Louis Le Vau, landscape architect André Le Nôtre, and painter-decorator Charles Le Brun began a detailed renovation and expansion of the château. This was done to fulfill Louis XIV's desire to establish a new entre for the royal court. Following the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678, he began to gradually move the court to Versailles. The court was officially established there on 6 May 1682.

By moving his court and government to Versailles, Louis XIV hoped to extract more control of the government from the nobility, and to distance himself from the population of Paris. All the power of France emanated from this center: there were government offices here, as well as the homes of thousands of courtiers, their retinues, and all the attendant functionaries of court.

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