The Rise and Fall of Ver­sailles

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Fri­day, 8.30pm, SBS One Ac­cord­ing to this doc­u­men­tary, Louis XIV was a bit of an ego­ma­niac. He made the pow­er­ful aris­to­crats of his day bend be­fore him and was so sex­u­ally in­sa­tiable that no sin­gle mistress could sat­isfy him for long. You see, through­out a long and tur­bu­lent life, Louis sought mag­nif­i­cence in all things. ‘‘ He strived for it in bat­tle, in love and in art,’’ says the rather breath­less fe­male nar­ra­tor. But above all he wanted mag­nif­i­cence at Ver­sailles, a build­ing so spec­tac­u­lar that it would out­shine any palace on earth. Nat­u­rally, that’s ex­actly what he got. If you are ex­pect­ing a sort of his­tor­i­cal Grand De­signs about the en­dur­ing ed­i­fice, that’s sim­ply not go­ing to hap­pen. This doc­u­men­tary se­ries is closer in spirit to The Tu­dors than Kevin McCloud. In fact, as Miss Breath­less at­tests, this is the story of how a king’s ob­ses­sion cre­ated one of the won­ders of the world.

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