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The Hall of Mirrors, Versailles

4.5
#2 of 102 in Things to do in Versailles
Architectural Building · Landmark
The Hall of Mirrors is the central gallery of the Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France.As the principal and most remarkable feature of King Louis XIV of France's third building campaign of the Palace of Versailles, construction of the Hall of Mirrors began in 1678. To provide for the Hall of Mirrors as well as the salon de la guerre and the salon de la paix, which connect the grand appartement du roi with the grand appartement de la reine, architect Jules Hardouin Mansart appropriated three rooms from each apartment as well as the terrace that separated the two apartments.The principal feature of this hall is the seventeen mirror-clad arches that reflect the seventeen arcaded windows that overlook the gardens. Each arch contains twenty-one mirrors with a total complement of 357 used in the decoration of the galerie des glaces. The arches themselves are fixed between marble pilasters whose capitals depict the symbols of France. These gilded bronze capitals include the fleur-de-lys and the Gallic cockerel or rooster. Many of the other attributes of the Hall of Mirrors were lost to war for financial purposes, such as the silver table pieces and guéridons, which were melted by order of Louis XIV in 1689 to finance the War of the League of Augsburg.ConstructionIn the 17th century, mirrors were among the most expensive items to possess at the time; the Venetian Republic held the monopoly on the manufacture of mirrors. In order to maintain the integrity of his philosophy of mercantilism, which required that all items used in the decoration of Versailles be made in France, Jean-Baptiste Colbert enticed several workers from Venice to make mirrors at the Manufacture royale de glaces de miroirs. According to legend, in order to keep its monopoly, the government of the Venetian Republic sent agents to France to poison the workers whom Colbert had brought to France.
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The Hall of Mirrors reviews

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  • Nothing like it anywhere - must be seen to be believed. Heard from the tour guide that it took 22,000 candles to light the room so was a very expensive room to light as one candle was the cost of an....  more »
  • The Hall of Mirrors is the jewel in the crown of the Palace of Versailles. It was meant to make a strong statement about the god-given power of the King, Louis XIV, who was responsible for the...  more »
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  • I didn't know mirrors were high value items back then, so having a whole wing of your palace to be covered in mirrors is a display of wealth and power. They didn't have big slates of mirrors like we do now, or even big floor to ceiling windows, so they used many smaller mirrors to cover one side of the wall, so folks can see their extravagant dresses or hats as they stroll down this hall (kind of like that adventurous friend who puts mirrors on their bedroom ceiling). It's funny to think that after so many centuries, us humans have not changed that much; we still pause to admire ourselves in front of mirrors and spend way too much time perfecting our hair before we carry on.
  • Absolutely incredible. Come early to avoid the large crowds!

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