Versailles, a city of France, capital of the department of Seine-et-Oise, and legally of the republic, 10 m. S. W. of the centre of Paris; pop. in 1872, 61,686. It is built with great regularity, the streets crossing each other at right angles, and has a monotonous appearance. The main thoroughfares are the avenues de Paris, St. Cloud, and Sceaux, the place d'Armes, and the boulevard de la Reine. The principal churches are those of Notre Dame and St. Louis, and there is an English chapel. Among the public buildings are the tennis court, famous for the short part which it played in the beginning of the revolution of 1789, a lyceum, and other schools and hospitals. Versailles derives its celebrity from the royal palace built by Louis XIV. on the site of Louis XIII.'s hunting lodge, where that monarch and his successors resided till the revolution. The marble court and the interior, which is 105 ft. long and 79 ft. high, are remarkable for extraordinary magnificence and grandeur, especially the vast museums or galleries, with statues and pictures of the great historical personages and events of the country, described in Gavard's Galeries historiques de Versailles (13 vols., Paris, 1835-48). Connected with the palace are chapels, an extensive library, and magnificent gardens, where fountains playing on Sundays attract multitudes of visitors from Paris. Louis XV. added the theatre and other buildings.
The park connects with the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon palaces; the latter was the favorite residence of Marie Antoinette. Adjoining the palace are the military hospital and the artillery and cavalry barracks. The most brilliant periods of the reigns of Louis XIV. and Louis XV., as well as the beginning of the catastrophe under Louis XVI., are associated with the residence of those monarchs at Versailles. The definitive treaty which terminated the American struggle for independence was concluded here, Sept. 3,1783, and the states general were opened here May 5, 1789. Napoleon I., Louis XVIIL, and Charles X. attempted to repair the damage inflicted upon the palace during the revolution, and under Louis Philippe it was fully restored. During the Franco-German war of 1870 Versailles became the headquarters of the Germans; the king of Prussia was proclaimed here (in the palace) emperor of Germany, Jan. 18, 1871; the capitulation of Paris was concluded here ten days later, and the preliminary treaty of peace on Feb. 26, and the national assembly and seat of government were removed hither from Bordeaux. Many prisoners were transferred to Versailles during the war with the commune, and shot in the neighboring plain of Satory. The constitutional provisions of February, 1875, made Versailles the legal capital, though it is practically only the seat of the senate and assembly, which occupy chambers in the palace.