Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles
Jardins du château de Versailles
Vue aérienne du domaine de Versailles le 20 août 2014 par ToucanWings - Creative Commons By Sa 3.0 - 22.jpg
Aerial view of the gardens from above the palace
LocationVersailles, France
Coordinates48°48′29″N 2°6′30″E / 48°48′29″N 2°6′30″E / 48.80806; 2.10833
Area800 ha.
  • 200,000 trees
  • 210,000 flowers planted annually
  • 50 fountains
  • 620 water jets (fed by 35 km. piping)
  • 5.57 km Grand Canal (circumference; surface area 23 ha.)[1]

The Gardens of Versailles (French: Jardins du château de Versailles; French pronunciation: ​[ʒaʁdɛ̃ dy ʃato də versaij]) occupy part of what was once the Domaine royal de Versailles, the royal demesne of the château of Versailles. Situated to the west of the palace, the gardens cover some 800 hectares of land, much of which is landscaped in the classic French Garden style perfected here by André Le Nôtre. Beyond the surrounding belt of woodland, the gardens are bordered by the urban areas of Versailles to the east and Le Chesnay to the north-east, by the National Arboretum de Chèvreloup to the north, the Versailles plain (a protected wildlife preserve) to the west, and by the Satory Forest to the south.

As part of le domaine national de Versailles et de Trianon, an autonomous public entity operating under the aegis of the French Ministry of Culture, the gardens are now one of the most visited public sites in France, receiving more than six million visitors a year.[2]

In addition to the meticulous manicured lawns, parterres of flowers, and sculptures are the fountains, which are located throughout the garden. Dating from the time of Louis XIV and still using much of the same network of hydraulics as was used during the Ancien Régime, the fountains contribute to making the gardens of Versailles unique. On weekends from late spring to early autumn, the administration of the museum sponsors the Grandes Eaux – spectacles during which all the fountains in the gardens are in full play. Designed by Andre Le Notre, the Grand Canal is the masterpiece of the Gardens of Versailles. In the Gardens too, the Grand Trianon was built to provide Sun King with the retreat he wanted. Le Petit Trianon is associated with Marie-Antoinette who spent there many weeks with her closest relatives and friends.[3]

In 1979, the gardens along with the château were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, one of thirty-one such designations in France.[4]

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