In this opulently illustrated volume, the eminent French architectural historian Jean-Marie Perouse de Montclos traces the transformation of Louis XIII's modest hunting lodge into the fabulous chateau we know today as the extravagant height of the French monarchy. Robert Polidori's sublime photographs show Versailles' architecture, interiors, and gardens, from sweeping aerial views, to grandiose views of the elaborately decorated palace ceilings, to intimate photographs of the paintings and sculptures that grace the walls and gardens. The exquisite artistry of each carefully considered decorative detail reveals Versailles in all its magnificence. The photographs show all the beauty and ornate decoration of Versailles, in every season and from every possible perspective. Polidori presents quiet, warmly-lit landscapes of the gardens and pools, dramatic visions of the colonnades, and expansive views of the vast, airy, luxurious salons. The text is a scholarly study of the history of the evolving aesthetic of this remarkable palace, attesting not only to its importance as the ultimate expression of European absolutism but also to its significance as an experimental design workshop that was to become widely influential.