Europe chose the path of centralized power, and it was constructed by Louis XIV.
He referred to himself as the "Sun King," the monarch at the center of the political constellation. He built Versailles and ruled his kingdom. He made absolutism the wave of the future and the high road to military glory and worldly power.
He was not devoted to the catholic religion, but he took part in a reorganization of the Roman Catholic Church inside France. He went along with the reforms dictated by the pope in regards to religion, but his main goal was to make the court of France the center of fashion and art. That is when he created Versailles, the country estate.
Louis bankrupted the Treasury of France through his wars. He fought four major ones, and his aim was to make himself supreme in Europe. He planned to conquer all lands west of the Rhine River. He also gained several important territories.
He did end up having some failures as well. He spent more than France could afford. Not only had the building of Versailles disabled the Treasury, but his spending on his various mistresses and illegitimate children got out of hand. The Spanish War of Succession ruined the Treasury, and Louis never could raise the taxes enough to cover his love of his little wars and women.
The good that he did with the money outweighs the fact that he bankrupted the treasury because he opened up a whole new world of culture for the people of France.