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Versailles
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Notre Dame of Versailles

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The foundation stone for Notre Dame in Versailles was laid by Louis IV on March 10, 1684. The hunting lodge attracted Louis XIV, which his father, Louis XIII, had built in the forest around Versailles and which was then nothing but a small village. He turned the lodge into his residence through a number of developments, and the town grew with the palace. 

He wanted the church in Versailles to be worthy of the new town where the king and his court, as well as the royal administration, would be based. A royal chapel already existed in the palace, but the king was a good parishioner, and he meant all parochial ceremonies (baptisms, marriages, burials) to take place in the new church. 

The building was completed between 1684 and 1686, and it retains its original appearance. The height of the building was limited, in keeping with the surrounding houses and buildings, because the rule was that the palace should dominate the whole town. 

The original furniture disappeared during the French Revolution, except for the pulpit, some paneling, the great organ case, and a few other items. In the nineteenth century, the building was refurbished. The confessionals were installed, and all of the stained glass was renewed in the 1870s. 

When we visited the church, we checked to see what records they maintain. We had hoped to see the baptism and marriage records for some of Bonnie's ancestors. We learned that all of the records before 1905 have been moved to federal archive building in Versailles. The search continues.

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