Image: Plan of the chateau of
The gardens of
However, none of these facts and figures really capture the overwhelming size and scope of the grounds surrounding the main Palace building, and as I wrote in my last entry Viva la Revolution, it is while walking around these grounds and gardens that the grandeur of
I spent a couple of hours walking through the grounds on a freezing winter afternoon, with the snow crunching underfoot, and a low mist hanging over the long allies and landscaped gardens. It was hard to believe that the hustle and bustle of metropolitan
The gardens of
Where the main building was packed with a constant stream of visitors filing dutifully through grand halls, past royal bedchambers, and room after room filled with a priceless paintings, sculptures and other objects, the gardens were almost devoid of people or the constant presence of security personnel and other staff. I felt as if I had the whole garden complex to myself, and rarely saw or heard anyone else as I wandered down long allies, exploring side paths and small alcoves, while discovering just a small part of this incredible place.
Image: Bosquet de la Salle de Bal,
The World English Dictionary defines a bosquet as: (noun) a clump of small trees or bushes; thicket
The Salle de Bal (ballroom?) bosquet was designed and built between 1681–1683. It features a semi-circular cascade that forms the backdrop for this ‘green hall’. Interspersed with gilt lead flares, which supported candelabra for illumination, the Salle de Bal was inaugurated in 1683 by Louis XIV’s son, the Grand Dauphin, with a dance party.
Image: The frozen over Bacchus Fountain in the gardens of
The Bacchus Fountain (also called the Autumn fountain), is one of four fountains dedicated to the seasons and can be found near the Royal Walk. Bacchus, a figure of Roman mythology is said to have taught the cultivation of the vine throughout the world. He is regarded as the god of wine and drunkenness, and in this sculpture he is surrounded by small satyrs, half child and half goat.
It wasn’t until I reached the
Image: Allie du Roy (the King’s Alley), one of many that crisscross Palace grounds and gardens
Image: The 1,500 metre long
It was Louis XIII who began the program to layout the gardens of
Like many of the most famous locations around
Image: the statue of Apollo (in the
One could of course, make a good argument for leveling the whole site and turning the acreage into cheap public housing for those that need it most, but then people might forget the reasons for the French Revolution: the poverty and hunger; the near financial bankruptcy of the Crown following France’s involvement in the Seven Years War and its participation in the American Revolutionary War; and the perception by many French people that the Royal Court at Versailles was isolated from, and indifferent to the hardships they were facing. These are just a few of the reasons behind the upheaval leading to the revolution of 1789.
As I said in my previous entry on
You may be thinking: But they are doing that anyway, and it is true, they are. Saddam Hussein had palaces to spare. The former Shah of Iran had his own grand palaces before he was thrown out by the Iranian revolution of 1979. No doubt, Kim Jong-il of
But I say again, that is exactly why the
All of the factual historical information used in this and my previous entry about the