Surrounding the main Palace of Versailles, are the extensive, magnificent and gorgeous Gardens of Versailles, which were planned and designed by Le Notre, and represent the pinnacle of the harmony and symmetry of the Renaissance era. The construction of the Versailles Gardens began in 1661 by André Le Notre, while the work lasted for around 40 years.
Home to elaborately designed shrubs, parterres, trees as well as dozens of types of flowers and other plants, the Palace of Versailles Gardens also boasts of a wide array of fountains and sculptures, all of which add to its charm and regal ambience.
Along with Notre, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Charles Le Brun and even architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart worked on different aspects of the gardens, from providing the drawings of the different statues and fountains, to the creation of the Orangery as well as the groves and outlines of the park. Ever since it was constructed, the Gardens of Versailles have been replanted at least once every 100 years, right from the reign of Louis XIV, to that of Napoleon III and even in the late 20th century. It is due to this that the garden still maintains its spectacular appearance, just like it did during the 17th century.
The Parterres and Paths in the Palace of Versailles Gardens were constructed at the foot of the palace, and consist of plant and flower beds, which have been arranged in symmetrical patterns and are connected by different paths. These paths typically consist of the open area that surrounds the palace.
Additionally, there are three parterres here, namely the North, South and the Water Parterres, in addition to other smaller ones which can be viewed from the upper floors of the palace. In addition to 2 rectangular pools in the Water Parterre, you can also enjoy views of the Orangery from the South Parterre, along with several statues of sphinxes, cupids as well as marble sculptures from the parterres and paths in the garden.
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The Orangery is one of the main highlights of the Gardens of Versailles. It is a huge conserve of orange trees, a vast majority of which have been brought from different parts of Portugal, Spain and Italy. Additionally, you can also see many lemon trees, oleander, palm, olives as well as pomegranate trees planted inside boxes in the Orangery during the winter season.
Some of the trees inside the Orangery are almost 200 years old, and were brought from different parts of the world, thereby making this place home to the largest collection of such trees in all of Europe. There are more than 1055 trees that are lined perfectly inside the Orangery, all of which face the direction of the south.
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The Groves of the Palace of Versailles Gardens are smaller parks that are home to a vast number of majestic fountains, vases as well as statues. There are over 10 groves in the Gardens, all of which are surrounded by wooden paths that lead visitors to these enclosed gardens. Boasting of many different rare species of trees, you can also see groves with different level cascades, marble ramps, shells and more.
A lot of these groves are also decorated with millstones and lead vases, which are accentuated by boxwood hedges and are surrounded by alley lines with chestnut trees and other beautiful elements. Some of the famous groves in the Gardens of Versailles are the Queen’s Grove, Ballroom Grove, Girandole Grove, Chestnut Grove and the Colonnade Grove located in the southern side. In the north, you can see the Grove of the Domes, Enceladus Grove, Obelisk Grove, Apollo’s Baths Grove, the Water Theatre Grove, Star Grove, the Grove of the Three Fountains and the Triumphal Arch Grove.
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The Gardens of Versailles are also known to house long beautiful walkways, lined with fountains, statues, waterways and some of the most spectacular compositions of flower beds and plants. Known as one of the best attractions inside the gardens as well as the Palace, the Walks are organised and constructed around the north-south and east-west axes.
One of the walkways starts from the Water Walk, beginning at the Neptune Fountain and ending at the Orangery and the Lake of the Swiss Guards. It is also lined with 14 stunning fountains. The Royal Way walk ends at the great Apollo’s fountain, and is lined with many chestnut trees, yew trees and hornbeams, along with a myriad of statues and sculptures.
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