The Court of the Sun King

Louis XIV was also known as "The Sun King" and is reported to have said: "I am the State." As related in class, he moved the royal residence from Paris to the ever growing spectacular palace of Versailles. Here Louis gathered the French nobles around him to both add to his glory and to keep an eye on them. The splendors of Versailles were both physical and ritualistic. The days and nights were full of elaborate ceremonies and entertainments.

As one of our classmates has reminded us, Louis was crazy about dancing. Indeed, modern ballet has evolved from the court ballets given at Versailles in which the King and his nobles actually participated. There is an entire film about this called "The King Dances" (La Roi Danse). Check out this fabulous scene as Louis covered in gold-paint and sun-halo is raised into the air during a dance rehearsal. His mother (Anne of Austria) watches in amazement. Nice legs indeed!

 In this entry I've made links to a few books and a few films about "The Sun King" The films include a full documentary on Louis and Versailles and a clip from "Vatel"- a film about the man who created the court entertainments including gigantic ice-sculptures, fireworks and mechanical wonders.



An excellent TV documentary on Louis XIV, his life and times. This is in several parts all of which have been posted to Youtube.

A scene from the film "Vatel" (2000) in which Louis XIV enters the garden of the Prince de Conde and is surrounded by an amazing array of mechanical stage props that spring to life. Vatel is the story of the fall of the Prince de Conde and the rise Versailles.

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