Monday, 25 September 2017

Gardens of Versailles

Louis XIV employed André le Nôtre as his royal gardener in 1661 and the work began immediately - it would be 40 years before they were complete. Le Nôtre was assisted by the men who created the palace: Charles le Brun designed most of the fountains and statues, Jean-Baptiste Colbert directed the project from 1664-83 and Jules Hardouin-Mansart designed the Orangery.

The work was not easy. To accommodate the plans insisted on by the King tons of earth had to be moved and the ground levelled out. What was formerly mushy marshland was transformed into flowerbeds, fountains, canals etc. It took thousands of men to complete the project and remember that all that dirt had to be moved by wheelbarrows! For the King's dream to come true trees of all sorts were imported from all over France and planted in a carefully designed pattern. Since it would be too long a post if I were to list all of the features of each park - anyone who has been there knows how enormous it is - I have chosen the same pattern as used for the château.

Today the garden covers 800 ha. and boasts 200.000 trees as well as 210.000 flowers. Sadly, there are only 620 water jets (and 50 fountains) left of the c. 1500 that were around from the beginning - the water jets are fed by 35 km piping.

To make it easier to navigate I have divided the garden into two sections: that of Versailles and those of the Trianons.





Gardens of Versailles

Each link takes you to a portion of the garden and describes its history and current state.








The Grand Canal

The Latona Fountain & Parterre

The Neptune Fountain


The Obelisk Grove


The Rocaille Grove

The Royal Star


The Star Grove


The Three Fountain's Grove

The Triumphal Arch Grove




Gardens of the Trianons

The gardens of the two private retreats are generally divided between two styles: the English garden and the French garden.

      The Belvedere 
      The Grotto
      The Love Monument

      The Bird House
      The Cool Pavilion 
      The French Pavilion


The Grand Trianon's Garden:
      The Buffet d'Eau
      The Ice Houses



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