France - Versailles
The Palace of Versailles, or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital.
The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution.
The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful 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. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful.
The Hall of Mirrors
The main feature of the hall is the seventeen mirrored arches that reflect the seventeen arcaded windows which look out onto Versailles equally- magnificent garden. Each arch contains twenty-one mirrors, for a total of 357 in all. This magnificent hall measures 73 meters long, 10.5 meters wide, and 12.3 meters high. The Hall of Mirrors has always played an important role in history including in 1919, as the First World War officially ended when Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles in this hall.
The garden of the Versailles Palace is Europe's largest palace garden. It was created in the 17th century by landscape gardener André Le Nôtre who designed what could be considered the quintessential formal French garden. The garden is laid out in a geometric pattern of paths, bushes, flowerbeds and trees. Le Nôtre also drained the swampy, sloping terrain and created a series of basins and a large canal, known as the Grand Canal. Several fountains adorn the basins.
Official website: http://www.chateauversailles.fr/homepage