Hi friends, welcome back to my Paris and London Anniversary series 🙂 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 it’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. 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 🙂
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. It’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.