France: Versailles – Palace of Versailles

I finally made it to Versailles (in the 5 previous France visits, it somehow didn’t fit in the schedule). Built by Louix Xiii and mostly Louix Xiv, the palace of Versailles was the residence of the French kings and the symbol of monarchy. The multi-wing palace was built at an enormous cost for the time and all the materials going into the ultra-lavish construction and decorations had to come from France only (in fact, for the mirrors in the famous Hall of Mirrors, France had to entice Venetian mirror makers to immigrate to France; the Republic of Venice ordered their assassination as traitors). The palace is grand on absolutely every level, starting with the massive gilded gates and exterior building decorations – to the sparkling gold and mirror rooms inside for both official rooms and King/Queens residences. Paintings, ceiling decorations, gilded statues, chandeliers, and more gold and mirrors everywhere! Versailles clearly served as an inspiration for the Russian tzars to go nuts with opulence later on in St Petersburg and model their palaces after Versailles. Naturally, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.