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Seriously, there are at least two!

Versailles, pronounced vur-SAYLZ is a village in Darke County, Ohio.

Main Street Versailles Ohio

The last census, 2010, claims there are 2,678 souls there.

Founded in 1819, the burg was originally named Jacksonville NOT in honor of the President of the United States because he hadn’t been President yet.

No one seems to know who this particular Jackson was!

But, in 1837, it was re-named in honor of the city and palace in France, and even though most of the residents at the time were of French descent, that mid-western accent must have kicked in because, apparently no one knew how to pronounce it properly!

The entire village comprises 1.88 square miles of land, which is about 1,203 acres.

I’ve seen farms bigger than that!

In contrast, the formal gardens alone back at the French landmark consist of 2,014 acres, and to make way for the walkways, trails, palaces, and out buildings over 37,000 acres were cleared!

Gardens of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles had humble beginnings.  It was originally a hunting lodge for King Louis VIII.

But, After various re-modelings, expansions, and face-lifts, it eventually became the royal residence from 1664 until 1789, when the populace of France toted the Royal Family back to Paris and the Tuileries.

On May 7, 1664, Louis XIV of France moved  his entire government and court from Paris to the Palace of Versailles.

Louis XIV

Why?

Proven right over 100 years later, the Sun King felt the threat of the French people, and distrusted his court.

He wanted all the Comtes, Ducs, Marquesses, and other lackeys right under his nose where he could watch them.

With the courtiers at Versailles following the rigid etiquette implemented by the King he’d have control, and they would have no time to form cabals and cause dissent.

Smart guy; it worked for a while.

The France of yore consisted of hundreds of principalities, duchies, and earldoms:  there were plenty of aristocrats to kiss the royal fanny ring.

And Louis loved the attention.

Versailles has 700 rooms, more than 2,000 windows, 1,250 chimneys, and 67 stair cases!

Fountains

It is capable of housing 20,000 people!

The immediate royal family, of course, resided there, as well as most members of the French nobility.

All official government offices were moved there as well.

Nearly 3,000 princes, courtesans, ministers, and servants lived there at any given time.

As in any real estate venture, “location, location, location” was key.

Palace inhabitants battled for spaces nearest the king’s apartments; proximity offered status.  It was vital to see and be seen by the king!

And Louis, in his wisdom, convinced the court that attending to the king’s rising, mealtimes, or bedtime was an honor.

But, alas, as dreamlike as the palace and its grounds were, keeping the place going was the thing of cauchemars!

Nearly 25% of France’s tax revenue went to feeding, housing, and entertaining the French Royal Family, court, and the thousands of servants and staff running the place.

In today’s money, building it alone would have cost $300 BILLION!

The palace of Versailles is today, a classic example of the extravagance of the French Aristocracy and its loss of perspective, compassion, and reality.

In 1789, the French people rose UP, stormed the palace and dragged the royal family back to Paris.

Hall of Mirrors

And brought the end of the monarchy!

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