Chateau de Versailles

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Louis XIV

Louis XIV, a marvelous leader during his reign (1643-1715), was a prime example of an absolutist ruler. He used his position to expand the power of his government with projects like the expansion of the Chateau de Versailles, completed in 1688. Despite the unimaginable cost of the monumental construction of Versailles that exhausted much of France's finances, its creation was beneficial for the French government, foreign influence, and the historical impact on France and the world. The French government, which was centered in Paris prior to the expansion of Versailles, did not satisfy King Louis XIV. Paris, forever associated with the Fronde or civil wars of 1648-1653, never appealed to Louis. Like Louis' father, King Louis XIII, he was constantly butting heads with the Fronde and needed to escape from them and the rigors of government. The solution to this was Versailles. Young King Louis XIV often escaped to the peace and solitude of Versailles as his father did, but instead for pleasure and a change in his rigorous routine of kingship. King Louis XIII first built Versailles in the country as a hunting lodge for his leisure and refuge from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Louis XIV later expanded upon the size and grandeur of his father's retreat and in his reign, installed his royal court within the security of its walls. Versailles, only 10 miles away from Paris, was very accessible to the main city in France as well as away from the troubles of Paris. In its construction, Louis planned to create a place that would house and office his court and essentially his government. Louis completely distrusted the nobility in association with the Fronde. But despite his distrust, he realized that he was isolated in his position as a ruler and that without the support of the nobility he could not rule effectively. In time, Louis XIV gained the support of the nobility and used Versailles as the meeting place for the collaboration between the Crown and the...
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