When people hear of Versailles, they immediately think of the palace that has become internationally acclaimed as the residence of Louis XIV and as a UNESCO-protected architectural masterpiece. However, Versailles is much more than that. It is a town that was established in the end of the 17th century and is located approximately 10 miles from Paris.
Initially, it was a small village, but Louis XIV decided to turn it into his residence and so the place got wide avenues, first octagonal squares in France, mansions of the aristocracy, and even a grand church. The French Court had some interesting and unusual traditions that may seem unusual for modern people. For example, the ritual of Grand Couvert or a public dinner, during which the King and Queen of France ate their dinner in front of other people. Only members of the royal family were allowed to seat while other people had to stand the whole dinner.
Louis XIV was particularly fond of this performance, so members of the court had to see the king eat while standing almost every evening. Louis XV wasn’t a big fan of such public dinners and liked a more intimate atmosphere. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette added music to these public dinners, so a special platform for musicians appeared in the eating hall. The court life of that time had many interesting traditions. For example, when someone wanted to talk to the king, they couldn’t just knock on his door. Instead, they were obliged to use their left little finger to scratch on the door gently. They had to keep scratching until the king gave them a permission to enter. This was the reason while many noble people of that time grew the nail of the left little finger longer.