Palace of Versailles

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Louis Le Vau, 1612–70, André Le Nôtre, 1613–1700, Charles Le Brun, 1619–90, and Jules Hardouin-Mansart, 1646–1708

Versailles, Île de France, France; 1678–84

Louis XIV of France (1638–1715), known as the Sun King, is Europe’s most potent emblem of absolute monarchy. He came to the throne at the age of four, on the death of his father, but took up the reins of power at 15, when he was crowned. His mother had been a Hapsburg princess, born in Spain but known as Anne of Austria, and in 1660 Louis married one of her relatives, Maria Theresa of Spain. He went on to outlive his expected heirs, so it was his great-grandson who succeeded ...

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