Lying in the suburbs of Paris, the Palace of Versailles was the symbol of the absolute monarchy espoused by Louis XIV and royal palace from 1682 to 1789, when the monarch was forced to return to Paris. The first design of the castle was made by Philibert Le Roy and during the next two centuries there were four building enlargements and renewals, when Louis XIV reorganized the government of France and moved there, when the court was fully established on May 6th 1682.
The centre of the power was within the palace walls, where the government offices and the thousands of courtiers lived. By obliging the nobility to spend some time every year in Versailles, the king prevented the development of regional powers, and established the etiquette which was rendered famous and copied all around the European court. One of the significant designs within the construction has to do with the configuration and dimension of the King and Queen’s apartments: never before the Queen’s ones had been of the same size and similar, but some interesting theories try to explain why Louis XIV chose to have them built alike, with seven enfilade rooms.
Kings’ lives were as predictable as a clock, but in order to keep the nobility calm, the Kings used to organize several evenings, during which they all met in order to chat, play and dance: numbed by the several divertissements, they should have been unable to seize the power. Actually, Versailles atmosphere was not sufficient to stop another force, which struck in 1789, when the French revolution began. What you see today, when entering the doors of Versailles, is what Marie Antoniette saw in her last days as Queen of France, during the last period she spent there.
With the past and ongoing restoration and conservation projects at Versailles, the Fifth Republic has enthusiastically promoted the museum as one of France’s foremost tourist attractions (Opperman, 2004). The palace, however, still serves political functions. Heads of state are regaled in the Hall of Mirrors; the Sénat and the Assemblée nationale meet in congress in Versailles to revise or otherwise amend the French Constitution, a tradition that came into effect with the promulgation of the 1875 Constitution.