Gardens of the Palace of Versailles: A touch of Royalty

The beautiful roads from Paris lead up to one core tourist attraction: the Chateau de Versailles. Intricately designed, rich in history, and with one of the most attractive of all the gardens you'll ever set your eyes on, Versailles lies at the epitome of French sophistication, style, elegance, and beauty.

Ranked among the largest in the world, the Gardens at Versailles are as perfectly laid out as you can imagine. During my visit to the site, I was taken aback not just by how form met functionality but also by the ability of the French to maintain such a gem for so many years.

Gardens Versailles France UNESCO world heritage site
Hall of Mirrors (image credits: Lux Tonnerre)

Formal almost to a fault, the gardens are a force of the triumph of humanity. The enormous size, the variety of flora and fauna, as well as the preservation of the gardens all work hand in hand to deliver an exceptional experience you'll never forget.

Although you have the option of walking right up and into the gardens, a better option would be to go right into Chateau de Versailles and admire the gardens from the famed Hall of Mirrors.

Gardens Versailles France UNESCO world heritage site
Orangerie (Photo credits: Yann Caradec)

From the reign of the Sun-King Louis XIV onwards, the Gardens of Versailles Palace have held a special place in the hearts of the French. During this king's illustrious life, the gardens received especial care and attention - turning them into the uniquely magnificent work of art they are. Back then, guest receptions, luxurious celebrations, and favorite shows were held right in the garden.

Irrespective of any of the beautiful roads you take to get to the gardens, one thing will be clear during your visit: the sheer glory of the place cannot be overstated. Kings, Queens, Nobles, and ordinary folk have spent their time in leisurely bouts on these lavish grounds. Further, you will soon find yourself immersed in the statues, orangeries, fountains, alleys, and other wonders only to be found in the Versailles gardens.

Short History

Designed by Le Notre, the water features, fountains, and canals in the garden form part and parcel of the entire whole. With 35 km of canals, 600 fountains, 55 water features, and 372 statues, you won't help but get impressed by these gardens.

Gardens Versailles France UNESCO world heritage site
The Gardens (Photo credits: Katie Ash)

Founded by Louis XIII, work on the Gardens of Versailles began in 1632. However, it was his son Louis XIV who took the extra care to ensure that the gardens lived up to the common expectations of magnificent spending the people saw in him.

By 1661, the Sun-King had already hired the best landscape designers, painters, architects, and other artists to start working on what would be his core legacy in French history: Chateau de Versailles and the magnificent gardens in its grounds.

Today, the gardens still exist - primarily as a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as one of the greatest tourist attractions in France.

Plan and layout

The Gardens of Versailles cover a total of 800 hectares. 300 hectares of these are covered in forest while two form the Trianon and the Petit Parc - the core French gardens on the grounds.

Gardens Versailles France UNESCO world heritage site
The Petit Trianon (Photo credits: Ethenia)
Formal and genuinely French in style, the gardens are impeccably kept. In particular, you will be impressed by the topiaries clipped into intricate shapes as well as the sheer splendor of everything in the gardens. All this won't come as a surprise once you learn that the Gardens were designed to impress - and impressed you will be.

Quick guide

Nestled smack in the middle of the suburb of Versailles, the Gardens of Versailles are located about 20 km southwest of the core of Paris. The gardens are open to the public on a daily basis from 8 am to 8 pm.

However, the Chateau de Versailles remains closed every Monday while Marie Antoinette's estate and the Petit Trianon (which she helped renovate to great public expense) are only open during the afternoon (except on Monday).


Why visit?

Royal to a fault, the Gardens at the Chateau de Versailles rank among the most famous of all gardens you will ever visit. Covering 800 hectares, the Gardens are lush, landscaped, and lovely - as perfect as only the French can get them to be.

Gardens Versailles France UNESCO world heritage site
Photo credits: Gabor Wiandt

So, why should you visit? Here are the reasons that compelled me to wind through a couple of beautiful roads up to these momentous gardens:

1. Popular Tourist Destination
For starters, the Gardens at the Chateau de Versailles are a core attraction for locals and tourists alike. Each year, several million people wind up at these gardens - which is saying something. Most people tend to visit the gardens for an experience of the enchanting beauty and the famed serenity they are known for.

2. World Heritage Site
The Gardens at the Chateau de Versailles were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979. Today, they are taken to number among the various icons that France boasts of.

Gardens Versailles France UNESCO world heritage site
Versailles gardens (Photo credits : V)

3. Sights and Experiences
Inside the gardens, you will get to admire and marvel at fountains, marble and bronze statues, and tons of beautiful tree formations. Further, you can walk along the Grand Canal and go even deeper into the vast gardens.

4. Shows
Each summer, the Gardens at the Chateau de Versailles play host to a wide variety of musical fountain shows and alternative sources of entertainment. Attend any of these shows to see how magnificent the celebrations used to be during Louis XIV's time at the helm of France.
When you take your tour of the Gardens at the Chateau de Versailles, you will get to learn more about the history of the greatest compositions and musicians from the 17th century onwards. These include, but are not limited to Charpentier and Lully.

Photo credits: Hetx

Getting there

Getting from Paris to the Gardens at the Chateau de Versailles is quite easy. Several trains connect these two tourist attractions, and the palace itself can be reached on foot from the nearest station. You can also head over in by car, ride a motorcycle or rent one.


Concluding thoughts

Since the Gardens at the Chateau de Versailles, as well as the palace itself, as huge, you should consider showing up in comfortable clothes and sneakers. Some sunscreen and a bottle of water will also come in handy - especially if you choose to visit in summer. The next time you are in Paris, be sure to schedule some time to check out these gardens.

It's not just Versailles or France which is home to some of Europe's beautiful gardens, and you can find them in many parts of the continent. Here's a guide to explore: Gardens of Europe.


About the author

This is a guest post by Peter Hanson, a motorcycle enthusiast and expert on motorcycle travel. He loves to travel and has covered a lot of countries over the past eight years. In each country, he takes the time to record his impressions.

Follow him on Twitter or visit his blog to read more articles about motorcycle travelling and helpful tips!

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Comments

  1. Nice post, things explained in details. Thank You.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The information you shared in this blog is the most efficiently reliable one. We hope to read more number of reliable blogs.......

    ReplyDelete
  3. Missed the visit last time but for sure next will visit this amazing place.
    thanks for article.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi

    Again, I am here. Thanks for your wonderful sharing and discussion. Your opinion and idea really very great. Thanks for your suggestion. Keep on good work. All the very best to you further ahead.
    Cheers!!!

    Krishan Kargwal
    www.flamingotravel.in

    ReplyDelete

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