We may have all heard of the Palace of Versailles in France
and may even remember some of our history lessons about King Louis XIV or Marie
Antoinette but nowhere in my memory bank was there anything like we were about
to see. We arrived from Paris
via a half hour
train ride and took the short walk from the station to the Palace.
|The Palace of Versailles in France|
Our first sight was this sculpture that stands high above
the statue of King Louis XIV and the entrance to the Palace. I am not one to
usually question ‘art’ but this just didn’t fit into my expectations. On further research, I learned that this
sculpture is by French Artist Bernar Venet and as explained, his plan was to
“probe the question about the relationship between art, landscape and
architecture and therefore between art, time and history”. Other pieces very similar to this were placed
in different locations around the grounds.
|The main courtyard at Palace of Versailles|
The Palace has been getting a face lift and part of that is
the gold gilding which brings out the details of the original architectural
artistry at the time of construction of the palace. The construction and scaffolding is behind
the large plastic screen, on the extreme right side of this photo and used to
protect as well as show what the project will look like when complete. This same style is seen at construction
sights all over cities in Europe
plain green fabric normally used at home.
|One of many gardens at the Palace of Versailles|
Our visit was the end of September and we were at a good
time in the season to enjoy some beautiful autumn gardens. This photo was taken at the back of the
Palace showing some of those gardens.
Designer Andre le Notre’s French Gardens, which
are all individually named and the Grand Parks cover over 431 hectares (1065
acres) at the Palace of Versailles. Our view of the Orangery was from the west
side at the back of the Palace overlooking the South Parterre. No matter where we stood, we were able to see
gardens and ponds.
|The South Parterre at the Palace of Versailles|
|Statue on the Water Parterre at Palace of Versailles|
The bronze statue is one of four that symbolizes the four
great rivers of France
and sits on the Water Parterre, two large rectangular pools. History says that the Greeks and Romans used
this design of statues to depict their rivers; the symbol of water was a source
of wealth. These were created during the
years of 1687-1694.
There are many fountains displayed and we saw
this one as we walked down to see Marie-Antoinette’s Palace on the corner of
the 787 hectares (1945 acres) of grounds at the Palace of Versailles. Included on the grounds are the Trianon
Palaces which are part of the estate of Marie-Antoinette. the French Gardens of
Andre le Notre and the Grand
|Golden Statue of Flora|
|French Gardens of the Palace of Versailles|
We walked among some of the many gardens but although we
walked for hours, one would need to have more than one day to see everything. These walks separate the many gardens, many
include statues and some have fountains.
It is like walking through a maze
and it wouldn’t be difficult to get lost without a map, and even then but we
managed to find our way out.
|Sun-god Apollo on his chariot|
This Jean Baptiste Tuby statue is the sun-god Apollo rising above
the horizon and driving the horse driven chariot across the sky. I haven’t been
able to learn why the spray was not working in any of the fountains on our
visit but these sculptures were beautiful the way they were.
|The Grand Canal at the Palace of Versailles|