Versailles

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
Save to active project

Versailles

Versailles (vərsī´, Fr. vĕrsī´), city (1990 pop. 91,029), capital of Yvelines dept., N central France. It was an insignificant rural hamlet when Louis XIII constructed a small retreat there in 1623. The village was soon made famous by Louis XIV, who expanded his father's work and built (mid-17th cent.) the palace and grounds that have become synonymous with the name Versailles. The growth of the town began in 1682, when Louis moved his court there. The huge structure, representing French classical style at its height, was the work of Louis Le Vau, J. H. Mansart, and Charles Le Brun. André Le Nôtre laid out the park and gardens, which are decorated with fountains, reservoirs, and sculptures by such artists as Antoine Coysevox. A huge machine was built at Marly-le-Roi to supply water for the fountains. The park contains two smaller palaces, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon, as well as numerous temples, grottoes, and other decorative structures.

The scene of the beginnings of the French Revolution, Versailles never again became a royal residence (the Tuileries in Paris replaced it in this function); under Louis Philippe it became a national monument and museum. The palace was the scene of the proclamation of the German Empire (1871) and of the Third French Republic. Several important treaties were signed at Versailles, most notably the 1919 treaty ending World War I and establishing the League of Nations. Today Versailles is one of the greatest tourist centers in France. The palace serves as a residence for visiting foreign leaders. It was the site of a bombing by separatists in 1978, when one wing was damaged. The city has some industry, such as distilling and market gardening. It is a garrison town, with a military hospital and military schools.

See T. Spawforth, Versailles: A Biography of a Palace (2008).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Versailles
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?