My sister, daughter and I took my mother to Versailles for her 70th birthday as a surprise. I won’t be blogging about that but I would love to share with you a post about the gardens and grounds. The Palace itself is huge and does not disappoint! It is a true palace with gold and marble, restored to it’s former glory since the French revolution. It is not until you see the grounds and gardens however, that you realise quite how much opulence and decadence there was from a time when France was THE superpower in the world at that time. Versailles is valued at over £50 Billion now so try to imagine the scale and size! A Russian Oligarch’s dream! It is over 500 hectares in size and is beautifully manicured and formal in design.
It was such a rainy weekend so the photos are not quite as clear as I would have liked.
Louis XIV or the sun king as he was known, commissioned the designer, André Le Nôtre, to redesign the grounds of the palace as originally, it was a mere hunting lodge. Under the title Controller General of the King’s Garden, Le Nôtre began revamping the grounds of Versailles in 1662. His design formed a crucifix shape to which he added two parterres closest to the palace. These parterres were designed to reflect light into the windows of the Hall of Mirrors and have pools of water with statues of nymphs, men and children.
There is a large canal which is over a mile long. This is called the Grand Canal after the one in Venice and Louis sailed gondolas on it. They also skated on it when it froze in Winter.
There are 11 main, famous fountains. They have statues from Roman and Greek mythology surrounding them and various sprays and jets. Apparently, they were more spectacular during Louis XIV’s reign but couldn’t all be cascading at the same time so they would work when the royal family were passing! The largest is called The Apollo fountain.
As part of our ticket, you can stop and listen to the music that accompanies the fountain show.
The king enjoyed his morning breakfast and an Orangery was constructed to house orange, lemon and pomegranate trees. Many of the trees today are over 200 years old! The orangery was my favourite part; it is over 7.5 acres and is mind blowing! As we were visiting during the summer (!) the trees were outside.
I hope you have enjoyed this post!
I have more…..
We also visited Le Trianon and Le Petit Trianon….