The term used to cover the arts in France in the period associated with the reign of Louis XIV (1643–1715), especially after he assumed direct personal control in 1661. The prototype for Louis's all-embracing unity of architecture, painting, interior decoration, and landscape gardening could be found at the château of Vaux-le-Vicomte, created in the 1650s for Nicolas Fouquet, Surintendant des Finances. The three major figures who had worked there—architect Louis Le Vau, garden designer André Le Nôtre, and painter and designer Charles Le Brun—were engaged by Louis to transform the King's hunting-lodge at Versailles, just to the west of Paris. The massive complex developed at Versailles became a major statement and display of monarchical power and magnificence. It was characterized by sumptuous materials, exquisite craftsmanship, a profusion of classical motifs, and strict formality of organization. A desire for symmetry and axial planning determined the layout of the gardens and interiors. Ceilings were painted with allegorical or mythological scenes glorifying the Sun King (as Louis became known). Furnishings were on a grand scale and tapestries were extensively displayed, sometimes hung above a marble dado. Strict control and the exactingly high standards of the royal manufactories ensured that France became pre-eminent in the arts of design and decoration during this period and the example of Versailles was imitated by other European monarchs.
http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage Versailles website.