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Mapping America's Many Sorry Versailles Knockoffs

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The Palace of Versailles, the French royal getaway that began as a humble hunting lodge before expanding into the world's largest palace, holds more than 720,000 square feet under its roof, most in the resplendent Baroque style of Louis XIV. The Sun King employed some 30,000 laborers and nearly emptied the French national treasury to produce the masterpiece. It has, for better and usually for worse, become a model for extravagant private homes the world over, mostly in the big house-happy United States. Recently, a Versailles "replica" famously became the bane of timeshare billionaire David Siegel, who set about building America's largest private home before the financial crisis got in the way, spawning the documentary The Queen of Versailles. Other wealthy Americans have pursued similar follies, most of which suffer from too little scale and a frightening lack of craftsmanship.

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Windermere, Fla.

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Built by timeshare baron David Siegel and his wife Jacqueline, this 90,000-square-foot mansion has yet to be completed, thanks to some money troubles the billionaire couple suffered during the financial crisis. They have vowed to complete the home and will live there unless someone puts up their $90M asking price.

Sagaponack, N.Y.

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Built by oft-reviled industrialist Ira Rennert, this sprawling beachfront mansion measures more than 66,000 square feet and is the Versailles of The Hamptons. Rennert seems to have an insatiable desire to expand, including adding a 10,000-square-foot stand-alone art museum.

Los Angeles, Calif.

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Built by real estate tycoon C. Frederick Wehba, this 36,000-square-foot L.A. mansion recently sold to a Chinese couple for $36M. That price included "plenty of 15-pound gold-plated doorknobs," and other Versailles-inspired extravagances.

Versailles, Ky.

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Inspired by a grand tour of Europe, this walled castle bears little architectural resemblance to the original, but is fittingly located in Versailles, Ky. Completed over the course of more than three decades by a series of owners, it is currently used as an event space, houses more than 50 rooms, and is listed for a whopping $26.54M.

Woodside, Calif.

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Once listed for as much as $21M, this Silicon Valley palace has been reduced to being sold by no reserve auction at the end of this month. Inspired by Versailles, the 17,000-square-foot mansion can't find a buyer, despite $85M comps just down the road.

Centre Island, N.Y.

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Some Versailles imitators only take on a small part of the estate, like this North Shore mansion modeled after the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's favored residence. It is currently listed for $15M after a series of chops by its porcelain collector owner.

San Francisco, Calif.

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This eight-bedroom mansion in the Presidio Heights neighborhood of San Francisco is another rough copy of the Petit Trianon. Listed for $25M, the personal palace boasts a seven-car garage, three-bed guest house, and additional overgrown lot.

Bryn Mawr, Pa.

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Modeled after La Lanterne, the chateau at Versailles that is currently used as the French presidential retreat, this Main Line estate might be the most subdued of all the mansions on this list. It is still sizable, however, at 14,800 square feet, and has a hefty-for-Philly listing price of $8M.

Great Falls, Va.

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Earlier this year, plans were announced to build a 25,000-square-foot facsimile of Versailles in the tony D.C. suburb of Great Falls, Va. The project, estimated to cost more than $50M, was postponed after neighbors objected to the combination of extreme size and small lot. (Address is approximate.)

New York, N.Y.

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Even some Manhattan apartments try to stake claims at some Versailles inspiration, particularly the expensive ones, like the $100M CitySpire penthouse. The brokerbabble claims the chestnut floors were done in a Versailles pattern.

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Windermere, Fla.

Built by timeshare baron David Siegel and his wife Jacqueline, this 90,000-square-foot mansion has yet to be completed, thanks to some money troubles the billionaire couple suffered during the financial crisis. They have vowed to complete the home and will live there unless someone puts up their $90M asking price.

Sagaponack, N.Y.

Built by oft-reviled industrialist Ira Rennert, this sprawling beachfront mansion measures more than 66,000 square feet and is the Versailles of The Hamptons. Rennert seems to have an insatiable desire to expand, including adding a 10,000-square-foot stand-alone art museum.

Los Angeles, Calif.

Built by real estate tycoon C. Frederick Wehba, this 36,000-square-foot L.A. mansion recently sold to a Chinese couple for $36M. That price included "plenty of 15-pound gold-plated doorknobs," and other Versailles-inspired extravagances.

Versailles, Ky.

Inspired by a grand tour of Europe, this walled castle bears little architectural resemblance to the original, but is fittingly located in Versailles, Ky. Completed over the course of more than three decades by a series of owners, it is currently used as an event space, houses more than 50 rooms, and is listed for a whopping $26.54M.

Woodside, Calif.

Once listed for as much as $21M, this Silicon Valley palace has been reduced to being sold by no reserve auction at the end of this month. Inspired by Versailles, the 17,000-square-foot mansion can't find a buyer, despite $85M comps just down the road.

Centre Island, N.Y.

Some Versailles imitators only take on a small part of the estate, like this North Shore mansion modeled after the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's favored residence. It is currently listed for $15M after a series of chops by its porcelain collector owner.

San Francisco, Calif.

This eight-bedroom mansion in the Presidio Heights neighborhood of San Francisco is another rough copy of the Petit Trianon. Listed for $25M, the personal palace boasts a seven-car garage, three-bed guest house, and additional overgrown lot.

Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Modeled after La Lanterne, the chateau at Versailles that is currently used as the French presidential retreat, this Main Line estate might be the most subdued of all the mansions on this list. It is still sizable, however, at 14,800 square feet, and has a hefty-for-Philly listing price of $8M.

Great Falls, Va.

Earlier this year, plans were announced to build a 25,000-square-foot facsimile of Versailles in the tony D.C. suburb of Great Falls, Va. The project, estimated to cost more than $50M, was postponed after neighbors objected to the combination of extreme size and small lot. (Address is approximate.)

New York, N.Y.

Even some Manhattan apartments try to stake claims at some Versailles inspiration, particularly the expensive ones, like the $100M CitySpire penthouse. The brokerbabble claims the chestnut floors were done in a Versailles pattern.