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Tea Party Winners: Debra E. Marvin's winner is: Kathleen, Jennifer Hudson Taylor's winner of her MacGregor Legacy series is Chris Granville and second winner is Britney Adams for the plaque and For Love or Country novel:, Angela K. Couch's winner is: , Carrie Fancett Pagels's winner per random.org is Beverly Duell-Moore for a copy of BCB and second winner for colonial goodies is: Carrie Moore Gould, Denise Weimer's winner: Janet Marie Dowell, Shannon McNear's winner is: Adriann Harris, Pegg Thomas's winner is: Susan C

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Versailles

In November I posted about Marie Antoinette, who will appear briefly in Book 6 of my American Patriot Series, Refiner’s Fire. So today I’m going to follow up with a post on Versailles, the palace where she lived after her marriage to King Louis XVI, since it will be one of the settings in Refiner’s Fire.

The Palace of Versailles was the royal residence and center of political power in France for little more than a century, from 1682 until the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. Now a world-class museum, Versailles is famous not only as a building, but also as a symbol of the absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.

Before 1038 in the Charter of the Saint-Père de Chartres Abbey, Hugues de Versailles was listed as the seigneur of the insignificant village of Versailles, whose small castle and church lay on the road from Paris to Dreux and Normandy. The population of the village declined sharply after an outbreak of the Plague and the Hundred Years’ War, but in 1575 a Florentine citizen, Albert de Gondi, purchased the seigneury, and he invited the future Louis XIII on several hunting trips in area.

Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701
The young dauphin was delighted with the forest and meadows that surrounded the village and the abundance of game he found there. The location was ideally situated between his principle residence at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Paris, and after he was crowned king, he hunted there again several times, finally ordering the construction of a stone and brick hunting lodge in 1624. Eight years later, he obtained the seigneury of Versailles from the Gondi family and began to make enlargements to the lodge.

The king and his successors, Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI each renovated and enlarged the structure during their reigns, creating extensive gardens and adding numerous other buildings to the site until it became one of the most costly and extravagant palaces in the world. More than 36,000 workers were involved in construction, and when the building was completed it could accommodate up to 5,000 people, including servants. An additional 14,000 servants and soldiers were quartered in annexes and in the nearby town.

The short video below is a cool 3-D presentation showing the progression of the chateau’s enlargement and the development of the gardens and additional buildings. In all, about 37,000 acres of land were cleared to make room for tree-lined terraces, walkways, and thousands of flowering plants, with 1,400 fountains and 400 pieces of sculpture.


Versailles is most associated with the Sun King, Louis XIV, who personally took on the role of architect. He made the chateau the new center for the royal court in 1682, establishing all the power of France there: government offices and the homes of thousands of courtiers, their retinues, and all the functionaries of court. The nobles of a certain rank and position were required to spend considerable time there, which enabled Louis to solidify his control of the government by preventing them from developing their own regional powers that would compete with his. Thus the French government became an absolute monarchy. 

Below is a longer and very interesting video documentary about the history and development of Versailles. 


In Refiner’s Fire, Jonathan Carleton’s uncle le comte de Caledonne brings Elizabeth Howard to France to keep her safe from British General Henry Clinton’s assassination attempts. While there she will meet the American commissioners to Paris and be drawn into the intrigues at court. So in my next post, I’m going to offer an overview of what life was like at Versailles during the reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

What attracts me to Versailles the most is those fabulous gardens! The works of art housed there are also a great attraction for me. Please share what fascinates or attracts you the most about this palace turned museum! 
~~~
J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history. She is also an author, editor, and publisher. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Northkill, Book 1 of the Northkill Amish Series coauthored with Bob Hostetler, won Foreword Magazine’s 2014 INDYFAB Book of the Year Bronze Award for historical fiction. Book 2, The Return, releases April 1, 2017. One Holy Night, a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story, was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year.


11 comments:

  1. Ach, it's morning and I don't have time to watch the videos right now. Thank you for this trip to France and Versailles. Can hardly wait for the new book.

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    1. Judith, I'm so glad you stopped by! I hope you'll come back to watch at least the 1st video when you have time. The 3-D imagery is wonderful!

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  2. What a great article, and the video is wonderful. Love your writing!

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia! I was really excited to find the videos. They really bring the palace and gardens to life!

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  3. Fascinating post and video, Joan. I'm looking forward to watching the other one later.

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    1. The documentary is pretty long, but it's really good, Janet. It's amazing what you can find on YouTube. lol! I'm so glad you stopped by!

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  4. Such an interesting post Joan! The video showing the castle is stunning! I cannot imagine living there or even being one of the many visitors walking the grounds. I can't wait to see how you weave this into your book.
    Blessings, Tina

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    1. I know, Tina! I can't imagine either what it would be like to pass your everyday life in a place like this. I'm not sure it would be very enjoyable, to be frank. However, it's going to be great fun to recreate it and its inhabitants--and quite a challenge!

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  5. Boy, the palace sure did grow! I don't know about you but I would get lost every time I walked down a hall! I can't imagine even running into half the people that there is for. Does Elizabeth get lost? No! No! Never mind I don't wan to know! It's a beautiful palace.

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    1. I can't imagine it, Bev! You would get lost in it without a map to guide you. lol! It makes a terrific museum, no doubt, but my brain can't wrap around living in such an enormous space!

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    2. I'd probably get lost even with a map! LOL

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