The Orangery of Versailles, Orangerie!

So back to Versailles shall we! a wonderful town that needs to be seen more, my kind of town, actually did lived there for almost 10 glorious years! Very nice family memories. I like to tell you a bit more of Versailles.

The orangery is one that is very nice, part of the Castle of Versailles but actually a different history and even before there was a castle. Therefore, let me go on with the Orangerie!

The Orangerie of the Château de Versailles was built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart between 1684 and 1686, it replaces the one built by the Vau in 1663 , therefore before the beginning of the works of the castle!.

The Orangerie, a wonderful building right in the gardens, really. and Plenty of plants ::) See the Statue of Louis XIV in emperor garments ,made of marble done to be put in the place des Victoires in Paris ,and done by the personal fortune of Jules-Hardouin-Mansart in 1686. The bronce did not resisted the time elements and was melted in 1792 by the revolutionaries to make canons. You can see at the Louvre the socket and decorations of these canons showing the conquered nations of Nimegue in 1678. When the new Orangerie was built in 1686 there was a perfect gallery of 156 meters long by 21 meters wide and the statue in marble found its place. Inside the Orangerie you will find, the most extraordinary collection of plants of all time, more than 2000 pots of lemon,grenades, laurel roses, oranges coming from Portugal,Spain,Italy, and the Vatican. During the winters these treasures were preserved thanks to the thick walls of 5 meters and the double window panning, even able to keep the Connétable de Pampelune planted in 1421!!! You ,also, can see the horse statue of Louis XIV done from 1665-1673! where you might remember it more for the replica in the pyramide of the Louvre  There is another copy at the piéce d”eau des Suisses since 1990; The original in the Orangerie is from 1685. You can see inside the baths or vasque octogonale done in 1674. done on a piece of marble de Rance, it is an octogonal of 3 meters wide and 1meter deep.  It is difficult to imagine taken a bath here as it would be impossible to heat in those years. The vase took several turns in different places until finally arriving at the Oragerie in 1934


The first orangery was built by Charles VIII at Amboise Castle. artichokes, melons and bitter oranges are naturalized there. Henri IV built an orangery in the Louvre. By retaining water and nutrients, and using pruning techniques, French gardeners were able to make citrus trees bloom throughout the year, to the delight of Louis XIV. Citrus-based motifs will become a theme in sculpture, mosaic, embroidery, weaving, paintings, poems or songs throughout history. Orange flowers remain popular as floral ornaments in weddings.

Each year at the end of November, the Orangery floor is empty. Oranges, lemons, palm trees, oleander, pomegranates in crates are mounted in the “berlinguettes” to join their winter refuge. Access by very small doors, “flaps”. They were pierced so as not to open the big doors and prevent the cold from getting into the building. The orangery, oriented to the south, is buried underground so no air flow , and still has the double chassis of its period mirrors. Attributes that ensure a stable indoor temperature (between 5 and 8 °c) in winter. Indoors, all this lush, almost tropical vegetation, with these hundreds of delicate trees from Italy, Spain, Portugal, disturbs the smell. Strange and delicious Sensation that the cold on the face combined with these fragrances come from the warm, sunny countries. From October to May, oranges, lemons, pomegranates and palm trees winter in this cathedral of 13 meters high built partly underground. Inside, the scents are intense or delicate.


This building of the Orangery is located under the Parterre du Midi ,  illuminated by impressive arched windows, consists of a central vaulted gallery, 150 meters long, flanked by two wings of  117 meters supporting the two staircases called the Hundred-Steps(cent marshes) . The walls, to keep the heat, are so thick, five meters, that they give the impression that we are cut off from the cold and the noises from the outside, disconnected from the universe Versailles. The ensemble, illuminated by large, curved windows, constricts the low floor or the flowerbed of the Orangery. A beautiful place that I like a lot ,and I walked around a lot of times.


This orientation, a thickness of walls more than 5 meters and precautions taken in winter-for example, under the old regime, gardeners came back by large chatiers to avoid opening large windows doors whose joints were caulked with straw made that the Orangerie has never experienced a freezing ,the low floor is bounded on its fourth side, to the south, by a balustrade overlooking the road to Saint Cyr l’école (D10). My route a lot of time to see my boys girlfriends lol! This one separates it from the pièce d’eau des Suisses . In its center is a large circular basin, surrounded by six pieces of grass. Under Louis XIV, it was adorned with some sculptures today all at the Louvre Museum.



The great orangery, by its dimensions, was transformed into a prison for the Communards in 1871, and became the obligatory step between the Satory garrison, where the military judgments were held.

There is a wonderful statue there, commissioned by Colbert and made of Carrara marble by Bernini, this equestrian statue of Louis XIV almost did not reach us. When the King discovers it in 1685,  he did not appreciate it, judging it ill-made, to the point of demanding its destruction. But he reconsidered by making changes which transformed it by taking inspiration from Marcus Curtius, a Roman hero hurling himself into the flames to save the Republic.

You get more info in english from the Château de Versailles here: Official Chateau de Versailles on the Orangerie

A must to see while in Versailles, it will take you more than a day to see it all , I would give it 3 and that is just the Domaine of Versailles. Need more to see the rest of the city wonders. Enjoy it as much as I did/do; Versailles is going to the soul of France!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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