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Claire’s journal:

We finally made it to the palace at Versailles!  It is so beautiful and overwhelming with over 19,000 acres of land.  I understand that it started as a hunting lodge.  I hope we don’t see any wild animals.  I’m a little scared.  Anyway, I can’t wait to visit the Hall of Mirrors.  The old man back home told us that there are over 300 mirrors lining the walls under 17 archways.  It was rare for people to see themselves from head to toe in mirrors when it was built, and I tell you, I can’t wait to see myself in all those mirrors.  I haven’t seen myself in a full length mirror since we left home.

Roger’s journal:

We saw the place a mile back before we even got to it.  It was huge; I’ve never seen anything like it before.  I can’t believe that people can make stones look like people; there’s over 400 freestanding stone people around this estate.  Maybe this is what the old man back home calls ‘sculpture.’  Oh, and there’s a garden with orange trees!  How did they get orange trees this far north?  The sheer extravagance of this palace is unheard of back home.  Everywhere you look is marble and gilded decorations.  This art stuff is amazing.

Versailles (17th century)

The Palace at Versailles, gardens and palace, take up around 19,262 acres just outside Paris, France. Versailles had a humble beginning as a hunting lodge built for Louis XIII. His son, Louis XIV saw it’s potential and expanded turning the lodge into this over the top grand palace. Versailles became the epitome of French baroque architecture and decoration. He spared no expense as a show of his power and wealth. With its Grand Apartments and Hall of Mirrors Louis XIV built the palace to impress all who walked in. He used the palace not only as a place of residence but a symbol of power forcing the French aristocracy to spend most of their time there seated in the lap of luxury. In the hall of mirrors, 357 mirrors line the walls filling the 17 archways below the extravagantly painted ceiling. Everywhere around the palace is filled with opulence and grandeur. With a building so opulent the surrounding land had to follow suit. Versailles is surrounded with perfectly manicured gardens fitting the extravagance of the palace. Louis XIV even had an orange grove built where the trees are in individual pots due to the cold winters. Among the gardens are amazing 1,400 fountains made from immaculate sculptures. Apart from the fountains are 400 other sculptures that stand-alone. Around the palace other rulers had smaller buildings built to escape the court life.

Using the port-key, our travelers decide to fast forward to the 18th century to learn about society in the Rococo period.  They travel to Paris, where the aristocracy loves to play.