The Palace of Versailles (or Château de Versailles) is one of the most spectacular achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. The three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution each added improvements.
In the 1670s Louis XIV built the Grand Apartments of the King and Queen, including the Hall of Mirrors. The Chapel and Opera were built in the next century under Louis XV. The château lost its standing as the official seat of power in 1789 but acquired a new role in the 19th century as the Museum of the History of France. Versailles has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.