Most people planning a trip to Paris manage to squeeze a day in their itinerary for visiting Versailles. And for a reason!
Louis XIV Vision
In 1661 Louis XIV entrusted André Le Nôtre with the creation and renovation of the gardens of Versailles, which he considered just as important as the Palace. Work on the gardens was started at the same time as the work on the palace and lasted for over 40 years.
During this time André Le Nôtre collaborated with the likes of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Superintendant of Buildings to the King from 1664 to 1683, who managed the project, and Charles Le Brun, who was made First Painter to the King in January 1664 and provided the drawings for a large number of the statues and fountains. Last but not least, each project was reviewed by the King himself, who was keen to see “every detail”. Not long after, the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, having been made First Architect to the King and Superintendent of Buildings, built the Orangery and simplified the outlines of the Park, in particular by modifying or opening up some of the groves.
Map of The Gardens of Versailles by Katherine Baxter
8000 hectares of Gardens
Before the French revolution in 1789, The Royal Palace of Versailles and its Estate comprised around 8000 hectares. As you can imagine, that was a remarkable domain and nowadays it still remains an amazing sight: one of the wonders of France. Today, the Palace of Versailles and its domain still make up 830 hectares (nothing less!) & 8 miles of paths allow to survey this vast site.
Once outside, here is where you need to go!
Once outside, don’t get sucked into the magnificent perspective — going straight down the steps to the Latona fountain and parterre and down the green carpet towards the Grand Canal is a rookie mistake. Instead, spend a couple of hours exploring the many secretive gardens and groves on the left and right of that perspective — that’s where the good hiding spots and the cool sculptures are located. The parterre of the Orangery is also well worth spending some time in to see orange trees, lemon trees, oleander, palm and pomegranate trees spread outside in the French formal garden in summer.
Le Grand Canal Boat ride
Visiting Versailles involves a lot of walking, so if you want to give your feet a little break and if time allows it, rent a rowing boat for 30 minutes and take a little paddle on the Grand Canal. It’s always a hit with the kiddos, and on a sunny day, it’s a lovely activity to see the estate from a different point of view.
Le Petit Trianon
Head to Marie-Antoinette’s estate to visit the recently restored Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet — fans of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette will love checking this area. Take the time to wander around this bucolic and serene part of the park, which transports you well away from the city.
One of our personal favorite in Versailles! Before you head back to the Courtyard of Honour and through the main gate where you started and visit the Gallery of Coaches in the Great Stables. There, you’ll see the most amazing collection of travel vehicles, from coaches and small carriages for Marie Antoinette’s children to sedan chairs and sleds, all adorned with carvings, golden embroideries, golden decorations, etc.
Le Grand Trianon
The Grand Trianon is much less crowded yet as magnificent.
The Peristyle, a sheltered colonnade connecting the two wings of the Grand Trianon, is surrounded by gardens and is the highlight of the Grand Trianon. Plan your visit to be there at sunset when the light hits the beautiful pink marble columns — it’s a spectacle like no other.
In 1963, General de Gaulle restored the Grand Trianon to use it to host visiting foreign dignitaries. It’s not the case since 2009, but stately events are still hosted for foreign officials.
The Tennis court
The jeu de paume is an old version of tennis and was a popular sport in the 17th century among the royal family and the court. The Royal Tennis Court, built a few hundred meters away from the palace in 1686, played a significant role in the French Revolution as it was the place where actors of the demand for democracy gathered. The Royal Tennis Court still stands today and can be visited.
The King’s vegetables Garden
The 22-acre vegetable garden built between 1678 and 1683 still exists in its original location, a few minutes’ walk from the palace, and still produces veggies and fruit for sale in the shop. It is also the location of a prestigious gardening and landscaping school. To visit this unique spot that is as much part of Versailles’ history as the estate.
Mademoiselle Saint-Germain Beauty Collection from the Vegetable Gardens of Versailles
The King’s Vegetable Garden is an essential part of Mademoiselle Saint-Germain as they reintroduced a plant that has disappeared for two centuries: the white Bonneuil cucumber, specifically for Maidemoiselle Saint-Germain cosmetics.
Today, they are Pioneer in the exclusive use of French ingredients, Mademoiselle Saint Germain offers effective and natural cosmetic products made with ingredients from exceptional French gardens and vegetable gardens.
Promise of local botanical virtues, the King’s Vegetable Garden of Versailles instills in him the desire of creating skin products with these plants. “Why not unearth the benefits of these ancestral plants under the prism of new and local treatments?”
Because Made in France does not mean local, at Mademoiselle Saint Germain goes further.
- A research and development laboratory in France.
- Ingredients that come both from the King’s Vegetable Garden but also from local and responsible producers that you will discover through a Tour de France.
- Cosmetics made in Lower Normandy, with French packaging.
Get the Royal Glow with OuiPlease in our upcoming Box Vol 6.2 Edition
Discover two products from Maison Saint-Germain in our upcoming Box!
- The Tonic Mist with Rosemary. The Tonic is a beauty elixir that acts as a daily radiance booster. Directly inspired by the Queen of Hungary water recipe, it purifies the skin thanks to its pure extract of rosemary cultivated in the Vegetable Garden of the King of Versailles. Also astringent, it tightens the pores and will be the perfect ally to help the skin to be more resistant to external aggressions. Fresh and invigorating, The Tonic vaporizes like a light mist (Glass pump bottle. 100 mL).
- This natural origin bio-cellulose mask is formulated with 3 anti-aging recognized active ingredients: blueberries, apple stem cells and restructuring polysaccharides restructurants work together to fight against the signs of aging and preserve the youthfulness of your skin.
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