The Palace of Versailles is one of the largest palaces in Europe. Actually only a small hunting lodge, it was enlarged into a royal palace by the Sun King Louis XIV between 1661 and 1715. In 1682 Louis XIV moved his court from Paris to Versailles. The palace became the political and cultural centre of Franc, but also a symbol of the Absolute Monarchy and the abundant life of the monarch. In the course of the French Revolution Louis XVI and his family were forced to return to Paris in 1789. Since the 19th century it was used as museum and can be visited. After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War Prussian King Wilhelm I was proclaimed German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors on 18th January 1871 and after World War I the Treaty of Versailles was signed there in 1919.
Palace and Park of Versailles are since 1979 on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Palace of Versailles provided Europe with a model of the ideal royal residence and so the architecture of the palace, the gardens and the life of Versailles were often copied in other countries. Famous examples include Schönbrunn Palace in Austria, Herrenchiemsee Palace in Bavaria, Ludwigslust Palace in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Sanssouci Palace in Prussia, Peterhof Palace in Russia and Drottningholm Palace in Sweden.