—by Valerie Milano
This tense situation is brought to life in the 17th century period television series VERSAILLES, which premiered on 16 November 2015 on Canal+ in France and on Super Channel in Canada, in May 2016 on BBC2 in Britain, and on 1 October 2016 on Ovation in the U.S.
The nobles of Paris gradually come to feel like birds in the gilded cage of Versailles, creating alcoves of vicious intrigues as the palace is being constructed. Produced by Claude Chelli and starring George Blagden as Louis XIV,VERSAILLES has run for two ten-week seasons and was renewed for a third, for which filming began in April 2017.
In addition to the Palace of Versailles, many other splendid French castles were filmed for the depiction of the unfinished Versailles. The period costumes in VERSAILLES are equally phenomenal.
King Louis XIV of the House of Bourbon, also known as Louis the Grand (Louis le Grand) and the Sun King (Le Roi Soleil), was put on the throne at just four years of age in 1643 and stayed there for nearly 72 years until his death in 1715. To date this is longest recorded reign of any monarch of a sovereign nation in European history.
Le Roi Soleil believed in the divine right of kings and absolute rule, a system that endured until the French Revolution of 1789. During Louis’ long reign, France was the leading European power. His regime prefigured that of the would-be world dictator Napoleon Bonaparte and is thought to have many parallels with those of Putin and Trump in the present day.
VERSAILLES was created by Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft. It is produced by Capa Drama, Incendo Productions, and Zodiak Media Group.