It started in a swamp. It was here, in a stretch of mosquito-infested marshland, that Louis, the 27-year-old King of France, decided to construct his new palace, near a small and unremarkable country town called Versailles. His courtiers were far from impressed. It was almost as though Louis, had deliberately picked the worst possible site for his magnificent palace, in order to prove to the world that his will was greater than nature. Louis had a sentimental reason for choosing Versailles. It was the site of his father's old hunting lodge, and as a boy, he'd played and hunted here.