Paris – Exploring the Gardens of Versailles

Hi friends, welcome back to my Paris and London Anniversary series ๐Ÿ™‚ In case you missed the first post, you can check out our time visiting Saint Chapelle, the Concierge, and Notre Dame here, and the tour of the Palace of Versailles here. After Jon and I had walked through the palace twice, we headed outside to explore the gardens. It down poured rain while we were inside so it was a bit wet and a very moody afternoon in Versailles.

It took about forty years for the gardens to be completed, and King Louis XIV oversaw every detail. Canals had to be dug out and trees from all over France were brought in to create this beautiful oasis.

The Orangery was the first area we saw and I was amazed by the straight lines and over 1,000 potted trees. Even though it was pretty overcast, it was still so beautiful!

This view is called the Royal Drive or Green Carpet, and itโ€™s absolutely stunning! Many parties were held out here and I can just picture how spectacular and over the top they were!

The Latona Basin depicts the myth of the childhood of Apollo (the Sun God aka Louis XIV) and his sister Diana with their mother Latona.ย Latona cursed the peasants of Lycia and turned them into frogs and lizards after they insulted her by refusing to let her drink out of their pond. Don’t people know not to mess with the mama bear?

There are over 400 statues throughout the garden waiting to be stumbled upon. Clearly the king wasn’t on a budget here ๐Ÿ™‚

I loved the gardens and was amazed at how well manicured they were. You could easily spend hours wandering through the perfectly sculpted shrubs. You can also rent a golf cart to explore the gardens for $32 per hour. Itโ€™s almost impossible to see everything because the garden is so expansive, but we enjoyed strolling through and stumbling upon beautiful fountains, statues, and topiaries.

The Saturn fountain symbolizing winter.

The Ceres Fountain, the goddess of harvest.

We enjoyed watching this fountain show.

I loved looking back to get the full scale of how large the Palace of Versailles truly is! I definitely couldn’t fit it all in my camera lens.

The Colonnade is a must-see spot in the garden and features a large statue of Pluto, Greek god of the Underworld. I bet this is absolutely wonderful in the summer when all of the fountains are working.

The Apollo Basin shows the sun god in his chariot being pulled out of water by majestic horses symbolizing bringing sunlight to the Earth. As you can see, most of the palace and grounds were designed around the Greek gods and Greek mythology. After this fountain is where the free public park starts.

The last section of the garden, the Grand Canal, was created to replicate the experience of the canals in Venice. It is just over a mile long and built in a cross shape. This area is called the Park and is free to visit. Once you get near the garden, there is a gate (as partly shown below on the left) and a ticket is required to explore the Garden of Versailles.

Jon and I headed out to The Park to make it to the next destination in Versailles, Trianon Palaces and Domaine de Marie Antoinette. Stay tuned for the final installment of our day in Versailles exploring the summer homes the monarchs built as an escape from the palace.

 

25 thoughts on “Paris – Exploring the Gardens of Versailles

    1. Thank you! I love the symmetry too. Louis had good taste for nature ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. We enjoyed our garden tours both times, simply wandering about and exploring. We had what I call “painting skies” on both trips, blue with white puffy clouds. It is amazing what a king can build when he has all the tax money of his subjects at hand. Thanks for sharing Lyssy. Happy Wednesday. Allan

  2. Thanks for the tour of these spectacular gardens and grounds. The gardens are a lot bigger than I’d realized. Versailles almost looks better from the back than the front. As I recall there is no greenery in front of the palace.

    1. So glad you enjoyed! The gardens are so massive! I do agree that Versailles looks better from the back, especially because you can’t see the scaffolding. I don’t think there is any greenery in front either.

  3. OH I am just loving these photos! When we went we didn’t have enough time to tour the gardens so we only popped out long enough to see what we could see from near the building– which wasn’t nearly enough. But we were with a tour group (I went when I was in high school with my French teacher and a few fellow students) and had to adhere to a strict schedule. I really love the photos that show just how massive the palace is!

    1. Thank you!! It’s amazing how large the gardens are, even an hour walk only covers so little. Maybe one day you can go back and wander through the gardens at your own pace ๐Ÿ™‚ That is awesome to have visited in high school!

  4. The gardens look spectacular and the Royal Drive looks like it could be a postcard it is so pretty! The statues look immaculate as well and the Apollo Basin is so detailed.

    1. It really does look like a postcard! Such a beautiful garden with no detail left behind ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. When we went to France it was in November, so the gardens were rather blah. These photos make me want to go back in the spring or summer for sure! Thank you for the post.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this post! It was so pretty with all the green and flowers starting to bloom.

  6. Wow, the gardens are stunning (and so are your photosโ€ฆ the moody skies add to it as well). I canโ€™t imagine how long it took to build the gardens, but also how much time it still takes to maintain them.

    1. The moody skies did look pretty cool! I think I read the entire garden has to be replanted every 100 years too. I imagine it’s a tough and expensive job running the gardens!

  7. The gardens of Versailles remind me of those outside of Peterhof Palace in Russia’s Saint Petersburg. We visited several years ago as part of a cruise around the Baltic Sea. I’ll pass on Saint Petersburg itself but Peterhof and Catherine Palace made the overnight stop worthwhile. I’m sure the Peterhof gardens aren’t as big as those in Versailles but it still felt like you could get lost in them.

    1. They do look similar to the Peterhof Palace gardens! I don’t anticipate I’ll be going to Russia anytime soon, but those palaces do look cool. I’ve heard good things about Baltic Sea cruises. We probably only saw 20% of the Versailles Gardens, you could definitely get lost in them.

  8. Menacing skies! Luckily you had some respite from the rain to walk around the stunning gardens. It’s surprising how often Ancient Greeks messed with their cruel deities, I agree. The gardens of Versailles are amazing, they must be spending loads of time and money to maintain them in such pristine shape.

    1. We got very lucky with weather on our trip! I just did a google search and on the Versailles website it says it costs around 15 million euros to maintain the palace/gardens. That seems a bit low to me but who knows.

  9. We got very lucky with weather on our trip! I just did a google search and on the Versailles website it says it costs around 15 million euros to maintain the palace/gardens. That seems a bit low to me but who knows.

    1. They were so beautiful! I could’ve spent an entire day out there too ๐Ÿ™‚

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