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Building the château and maintaining the court there was phenomenally expensive, but did a good deal to establish the dominance of French style and taste in the whole of Europe, giving French luxury manufacturing advantages that long outlasted the fall of the Ancien Régime.

Louis XIV's expansion of the building was begun around 1661, with Louis Le Vau as architect.

Work was sufficiently advanced by 1682, that Louis XIV was able to proclaim Versailles his principal residence and the seat of the government of the Kingdom of France and also to give rooms in the palace to almost all of his courtiers.

After the death of his consort Maria Theresa of Spain in 1683, Louis XIV undertook the enlargement and remodeling of the royal apartments in the original part of the palace, the former hunting lodge built by his father.

While Venice in the 17th century had the monopoly on the manufacture of mirrors, Colbert succeeded in enticing a number of artisans from Venice to make the mirrors for Versailles.

However, owing to Venetian proprietary claims on the technology of mirror manufacture, the Venetian government ordered the assassination of the artisans to keep the secrets proprietary to the Venetian Republic.

Owing to the nature of the construction of Versailles and the evolution of the role of the palace, construction costs were essentially a private matter.

Initially, Versailles was planned to be an occasional residence for Louis XIV and was referred to as the "king's house".

It is now open as a museum and is a very popular tourist attraction.Especially under Louis XIV, the whole senior nobility were pressured to spend large amounts of time at Versailles, as a form of political control.Louis XIV evolved a rigid routine of court life as a performance, much of which took place in front of large groups of people, at some points in the day including tourists.Expenditures on Versailles have been recorded in the compendium known as the Comptes des bâtiments du roi sous le règne de Louis XIV and which was edited and published in five volumes by Jules Guiffrey in the 19th century.These volumes provide valuable archival material pursuant to the financial expenditures of all aspects of Versailles from the payments disbursed for many trades as varied as artists and mole catchers.

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During the second phase of expansion of the mansion (c.