King Louis XIV: Facts About the Sun King

Here are some facts about King Louis XIV.

  • King Louis XIV was the King of France from 1643 until 1715. He reigned for 72 years, making him the longest ruling monarch of any major European country.
  • He was born in France in 1638 and became King at the age of 5, following the death of his father.

  • It was considered a privilege for the wealthy to watch the young Louis eat, bathe and sleep.
  • In 1661, King Louis XIV astonished his court by deciding to rule without a minister to advise him.
  • He chose the sun to symbolize his power and strength, and became known as the Sun King.

Louis XIV

  • Louis XIV built the spectacular palace at Versailles, one of the largest in the world. It has over 700 rooms, including the famous 73 metre long Hall of Mirrors.
  • He fought wars with several other European countries, but managed to gain more land for France.
  • The American state of Louisiana is named after him.
  • Louis appreciated the arts, literature, theatre and music and was friends with many famous artists and writers. He also enjoyed hunting every day in the grounds at Versailles.
  • King Louis XIV is said to have had his bed linen changed several times a day. He also bathed regularly in his own Turkish bath and often disinfected his skin.
  • Only his hairdresser was allowed to see him without a wig. Wearing one of his 1,000 wigs made him look much taller than his 162 cm.
  • Louis commissioned over 300 portraits of himself, many of which survive today. He also ordered 20 statues of himself to stand in Paris and other French towns and cities.
  • King Louis XIV died of gangrene in 1715, just before his 77th birthday, and was succeeded by his 5 year old grandson. He was buried in Saint Denis basilica in northern Paris, alongside other French Royalty.