The Palace of Versailles, which began life as a relatively small hunting lodge, has exchanged purpose and ownership countless times in the course of its 360-year history. It served as the ever expanding and opulent residence of the French royal family until it was stormed in 1789, resulting in King Louis XVI being dragged back to Paris (via ThoughtCo). While the expense of the palace (and likely the optics of living in the deposed King Louis’ extravagant home) led to it never being permanently inhabited by the subsequent Bonaparte, Bourbon, and Orleanist monarchs, it remained a powerful symbol.
American independence, German unification after the Franco-Prussian war, and the terms of Germany’s surrender after World War I are among the events that took place in the building. After substantial post-revolution renovation, Versailles started a new life as a museum; unintentionally giving back to the French people the luxury that the Bourbons enjoyed at their expense.
Versailles is still used as a place of recreation
The Palace of Versailles has seen much use in it’s nationalized state, evidenced by the many films and miniseries shot there, such as 1989’s “La Révolution française” and 2002’s “Napoleon.” According to the Chateau de Versailles, it is not just made available for productions or private functions. Under certain conditions, the palace can be inexpensive and even free for attendees, while access to the gardens is nearly always free. As of late, however, there is much more to be experienced at Versailles.
While the last French royals who called the palace their home died nearly two centuries ago, the use of the grounds as a residence is making a comeback. According to Afar, this month a Rococo-style hotel was opened on Versailles property, where visitors can stay and get as close to living in Versailles as one possibly can. While a room is relatively expensive and comes with similarly expensive perks, it is still more affordable than the previous requirements of becoming king or winning a war.
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