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The chef d'oeuvre [major work] of seventeenth French classicism, the Palace of Versailles, an expression of Louis XIV's absolute power, was built at great expense to the French people. It is estimated that 60% of France's revenue [in today's money this would be approximately $2 billion dollars] was expended on this extragant venture which also cost many of the workers their lives as they contracted malaria from the swamp land on which the palace was constructed. Because there was not enough water for the many fountains the Sun King wanted to run all the time, messengers ran ahead of him when he took a stroll through the formal gardens and grounds. The alerted serants turned the fountains on and off as the king passed them.
There were three major figures involved in the construction of this magnificent edifice which was formed from the highest grade of materials: Louis le Vau, the chief architect; Charles LeBrun, the interior designer; and Andre leNotre, the landscape architect.
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