RCTS

Visitors to Versailles will be swept away by the majesty and splendour of the Palace of Versailles, once the home of the French aristocracy.

The Palace - located less than 10 kilometres away from the 2018 Ryder Cup venue - is a masterpiece of classical architecture and a symbol of splendour and excess.

It is even being said that Donald Trump, President of the United States, has been inspired by the luxury of Versailles and has decorated his Manhattan apartment in golden furniture in deference to the style of French nobility.

The gold curtains Trump brought into the Oval Office after taking office also drew parallels between his interior styling and that of Louis XIV, the French king who built Versailles.

The 700-room palace is a study in ostentatious wealth and was the seat of power for the French nobility from Louis XIV's accession in 1661 until the French Revolution in 1789.

The Palace of Versailles is one of Paris's most visited landmarks with tourists coming to see its magnificent gardens and the Hall of Mirrors with its 357 mirrors decorating 17 arches. Today the Palace houses a museum of French history.

The history of Versailles is inextricably linked with Louis XIV who developed a genuine liking for Versailles early on and decided to extend it beyond the chateau that had grown out of the hunting lodge of brick and stone first built by his father.

The King, who could see great things for the chateau and the forests around it, took on the role of architect himself and built a masterpiece with which he would forever be associated.

Together with its gardens, the Palace is one of the most famous monuments of world heritage. Its park is decorated with statues, fountains and outstanding buildings such as Petit Trianon, the private chateau of Marie Antoinette.

The last Queen of France was a symbol of the excesses of that time, helping provoke the popular unrest that led to the French Revolution and overthrow of the monarchy. Her famous quote was "Let them eat cake" although there is no evidence she actually said it.

Versailles is also famous as the location for the signing of the peace treaty in 1919 after the First World War.

It was often the centre of world attention as a venue for official visits by world leaders. John and Jackie Kennedy, Boris Yeltsin, Jimmy Carter all added lustre to Versailles. The Queen made a State visit to Versailles which also hosted the G7 summit in 1982 at the request of Francois Mitterrand.

Located 20 kilometres from Paris, the royal town of Versailles straight along from the Palace has kept much evidence of its past as illustrated by the numerous mansions, the picturesque Saint-Louis district and the religious buildings. The town centre is particularly attractive with its shops, restaurants and cafes and renowned market.