The Crown Jewel of Europe

There are certain ironies in holding the economics summit at Versailles. The most sumptuous château in France is a monument to royal extravagance. Twice in this century, Versailles has been rescued from near ruin only by generous infusions of American cash.

Envy was the palace's original inspiration. King Louis XIV, outraged by the opulence of a château built by his Finance Minister Nicolas Fouquet, in 1662 hired Fouquet's architect, Louis le Vau, to create a monumental country palace of glass and champagne-hued stone at Versailles, twelve miles southwest of Paris. By 1685, 36,000...

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