The Park of Versailles   

The Park of Versailles, set within the palace grounds and extending beyond the Gardens of Versailles, covers almost 800 hectares.

Despite its changes during the Revolution, its original design by André Le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s chief gardener, remains a prime example of French formal gardens.

It features terraced gardens, including French, English, and the Queen’s Gardens. 

Entry to the park is free and it remains open throughout the year, except in extreme weather conditions.

You can explore the park on foot, by jogging, walking along its trails, or cycling, with bikes available for rent.

With a ticket for entry to the Palace of Versailles, you may explore its magnificent Gardens and the tranquil Estate of Trianon, all of which are located inside the enormous and historically significant Park of Versailles.

The trails offer scenic views of the landscape, water, and trees, and the Grand Canal is perfect for rowing.

The French Gardens, a park highlight, are divided into parterres, bosquets, the canal, and fountains featuring statues and the famous Latona Fountain.

The park also boasts significant water features like the Grand Canal and the Lake of the Swiss Guards, enhancing its charm.

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal
Image: Pinterest.com

1,670 meters long, the Grand Canal of the Park of Versailles took 11 years to be built.

The Canal was the venue for glorious parties and the sailing point of various Louis XIV boats.

During winter, it became a popular spot for skating and sledding.

This large man-made canal stretches for over three kilometers and is bordered by a tree-lined avenue.

Lake of the Swiss Guard

Lake of the Swiss Guard
Image: ChateauVersailles.fr

A five-year-long excavation period started to transform this stagnant water body in the Southern part of the Palace of Versailles.

This new lake, the Lake of the Swiss Guard, emerged from this transformation and marked the end of the palace’s north-south axis.

The soil removed during this process was used to form the Royal Vegetable Garden.

Palace and Park of Versailles map

map palace
Image: Wikimedia.org

Here are some interesting Palace and Park of Versailles facts:

  • Versailles wasn’t just a home for royals and visitors, it also hosted fascinating menageries with exotic animals and birds from around the globe.

    This led to the trend for zoos in Europe.

  • In the 17th century, the intense fragrance from blooms in the gardens of Versailles often overwhelmed guests, driving them away.
  • Marie Antoinette enjoyed her own secluded getaway at ‘The Petit Trianon,’ a charming estate complete with a theater, farm, and a romantic ‘temple of love’ surrounded by lush greenery.
  • The Palace and Park of Versailles have a humble beginning. 

Louis XIII originally bought the land for hunting and built a lodge chateau for overnight stays when he couldn’t return to Paris before dark.

Featured Image: Chateauversailles.fr

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