GLOBAL TREASURES: Paris (Versailles)


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Global Treasures: Versailles
Ullman, Frank - Television Director

Catalogue Number: GTR-DVD-1057
UPC: 879061006562

Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.

Versailles was the former palace and dream castle of the French "Sun King," Louis XIV. The history of Versailles covers the rise and fall of the Bourbons, whose reign covered the most remarkable period of French history. Here, the French king lavishly entertained the decadent nobility, oblivious to the unrest caused by their false pride, supreme arrogance and almost total disregard for the poverty of the French people that would eventually lead to revolution.

Magnificent fountains decorate the palace's huge park that was created by 35,000 workers, a hundred hectares of ingenious garden design with a strict symmetry of wide star-shaped garden paths that seem to be without end. Drawn by four horses, the god Apollo emerges from the waters of a fountain. This and further fountains and ponds were designed by Tuby and Lenotre and are masterpieces of both garden design and the sculptor's art. Playful figures and statues adorn the park's many paths and even today emanate the joy and merriment of past days.

Construction of the royal palace was completed some time after that of the gardens. The palace was to be the epitome of majestic splendor and was designed to accommodate the entire French court: 20,000 people!

Containing more than 700 lavish rooms, the palace is a unique architectural masterpiece. In the opulence of the private rooms there are grand four-poster beds and splendid canopies. Ceiling paintings, gold and marble intarsia, carvings, goblins and superb crystal chandeliers are an indication of some of the king's creative ideas that Lebrun realized in exemplary style.

Versailles served as the model for several European palaces such as those in Potsdam, Vienna and St. Petersburg. However, it continues to be a unique monument of unashamed splendour and supreme opulence.

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