Sam's Exotic Travel to Picturesque & Historic Versailles, France
Versailles, located in the Paris suburbs, became the summer retreat of the French Emperors, but unlike the the spartan Camp David used by US Presidents, the Palace was all that money could buy.
Much imitated but never equaled, the ornate palace of King Louis XIV (the "Sun King") is a feast for the eyes and fairly resounds with history. Within its magnificent halls, empires were founded, kingdoms collapsed and a World War ended. The palace, known throughout the world as the epitome of extravagance, was built to be big enough to house the king and his court -- more than 3,000 people -- within a single building. No expense was too great: It was filled with marble sculpture, crystal chandeliers, gilded carvings and parquetry made of rare woods -- whatever exalted the king by its beauty. It fell into disrepair after the French Revolution, when it was looted and ransacked. The building was completely restored to its original grandeur only in the 20th century, with the help of a long list of donors (including John D. Rockefeller and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis).
The formal gardens are among the best in France. You'll see amazing floral patterns, different perspectives of the palace and a small lake called the Grand Canal, where the royal gondolas were kept.
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