The Palace of Versailles is a monument to excess and showmanship, resources lavished on a small, self-centered group while the people suffered and the nation was deeply in debt. But now, it is a public building celebrating the glories of France.

10,000 people lived here, counting all the workers. That’s a lot of people employed.

Gold and marble are used as casually as wood and stone.

Everything is over the top, and much seems vulgarly ostentatious. But the palace and estate are also a collection of beauty and fine workmanship. Furnishings and fashion provide an astonishing view of human creativity and skill.

The Sun King presented himself as a god. The last king and queen were profligate, promiscuous, and irresponsible.

But they created something of amazing beauty that still gives millions of people pleasure centuries later.

250 acres of creative gardens and bosky dells are now a World Heritage site. Many buildings with gorgeous architectural details and elaborate furnishings present a view of history and also of the craftsmanship and art of the Republic.

We enjoyed our visit enormously.