5th Anniversary
Chelsea Flower Show
Paris and London

Paris - Versailles


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On our third day, after breakfast we headed out to Chateau de Versailles. We were very lucky in that about a half hour after we arrived, there would be a water display, so we all had the chance to see the fountains dance!







Wow, was this place ever big … both the Chateau and the gardens … of all the Palaces and Castles I have seen over the years, I have never seen anything quite this grand. Louis XIV turned this estate into a seat and later on the symbol of absolute monarchy, as befitting the Sun King and his perception of power.






Today, three hundred years later, it still stands on 800 hectares with 20 kms of roads, 200,000 trees, 35 kms of canals, 11 hectares of roofing, 2153 windows, 700 rooms and 67 staircases!! Not to mention the gardens with some of the most incredible fountains I have ever seen…there is nothing you can say to fully describe this place .. you have to see it. The inside is staggering opulence, just incredible.






After this we headed towards the village of Versailles where we just happened to hit a market … we picked up fresh strawberries and raspberries and most of us had a picnic on the coach on the way to Chartres and the Cathedral. One of the nice things about our coach is that it had seats facing each other with tables so that we could all sit, eat and chat while going from one place to another.






Paris would not be Paris without Versailles. The atmosphere of Versailles, 11 km west of the capital, exudes the splendors of the Great Century. The nobility’s mansions are turned toward the Place d’Armes and the king’s château. A geometric perspective in which the rows of avenues lead to the palace, its park and the two Trianons. The history of France is inscribed in each step. The château’s apartments have been renovated. The sumptuous Hall of Mirrors is haunted by the ghosts of the royal family, from Louis XIII to Louis-Philippe: 250 years of tragedies and fêtes in which the brilliance of the Sun King, Louis XIV, dominated.






The gardens are adorned with over three hundred statues and terms, busts and vases, in marble, bronze or lead, making them the most important outdoor Museum of sculptures in the world. It contains about twenty original antiques and some thirty copies from the antique executed by pupils of the French Academy in Rome. All the rest are original works due to the greatest sculptors of their day. Some of them, damaged by pollution or vandalized, have been removed for safety and replaced by plaster casts. The sculptures are mainly placed around the ornamental gardens and along the Royal Avenue.






Courtiers, mistresses and artists: the gardens saw the most opulent courts in Europe file by. Just a stroll through the gardens, between the Orangerie and the Neptune fountain by way of the Latona fountain, is enough to get a good glimpse of the splendor of the ancient régime. The long list of great names that haunt this enchanted realm, today encompassing more than 2,000 acres, includes: the architects Le Vau, Mansart and Gabriel, the painter Charles Le Brun, Superintendant of the King’s Buildings Colbert, the landscapist Le Nôtre and, finally, Molière, all of whom contributed to the beauty of Versailles. Visitors should not miss the Grand Canal, the pink marble Grand Trianon and the rustic Petit Trianon, so dear to the heart of the queen Marie-Antoinette.

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