Archive for January 5th, 2019

January 5, 2019

La Pièce d’Eau des Suisses , Versailles of course!

Coming along on my tour of Versailles to the public in general but especially those that only come to the castle/museum, you know my sermon, it has a lot more things to see than the castle/museum. I like to show an area off castle property but very much link to it in history as of today.

I will tell you a bit about the Piéce d’Eau des Suisses or the Swiss water pond right off the Orangerie area on the road D10 to St Cyr l’école. Many afternoons on weekends picnicking there with the family on the shadows of the only statue to king Louis XVI in Versailles and one of only five in France still standing. Even thus controversy arises as this was Louis XIV, in the best political interest it was somehow change after the original artist Benini did it. The others are in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique dept 44) , at the Esplanade du Maréchal Foch , it is still today , for most of the people of Nantes,the Place Louis XVI.  Also,  In Bécherel (Ille-et-Vilaine dept 35 Brittany), in the park of the Château de Caradeuc; at the Loroe-Bottereau (Loire-Atlantique dept 44), near the Church; in Sorèze, in the park of the Royal School; And in Nant (Aveyron dept 12), in the entrance to the city/town hall , even if here very much damaged and hardly recognisable.

La pièce d’eau des Suisses or sort of the Swiss water room in English (sp help) is a part of the Château de Versailles , built between 1679 and 1682. It owes its name to having been dug by a regiment of Swiss guards. It was created to drain the Potager du Roi or King’s vegetable garden.

This 682 meters long, by 234 meters wide water pond with a surface of 15 hectares has an average depth of 1.70 meters ( the park is about 25 ha). It is located at the south end of the north-south axis of the gardens of Versailles. This axis includes from north to south the basin of Neptune, the allée d’eau and the parterre du nord, the parterre d’eau , parterre du midi (situated above the Orangerie) ,and the parterre de l’Orangerie ,and finally the pièce d’eau des Suisses who is in fact outside the present perimeter of the castle, of which it is separated by the road of Saint-Cyr l’école (D10).


It was an octagonal shape, it was enlarged towards 1678 by the Swiss Guards in the service of King Louis XIV. A final enlargement in 1682 that gives it its rounded ends. At its southern extremity an equestrian statue had been installed by Bernini, representing Louis XIV, later transformed into Marcus Curtius (replaced by a copy, the original is in the Orangerie). The Piéce d’eau des Suisses runs along the Potager du Roi or king’s vegetable garden, which it could be access on this side by the Royal Grill gate. It is bordered by a double aisle of two-century plane trees, many of which suffered damage during the storm of 1999. Under the old regime, this piece d’eau was often the scene of nautical festivals. Nowadays it is free to all and has become a Sunday family picnic place. And it was our family place to on many Sundays.

Some webpages I could find to help you plan your trip here are

Official tourist office of Versailles on the Suisses

Michelin Travel in Europe on the Suisses

It is a nice park full of history and wonderful for the whole family to walk , take a break from the long tours of the castle and even do try a picnic; its awesome. Hope you enjoy as we did/do.

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


January 5, 2019

Parc Balbi, Versailles of course!!!

As you can tell, I am on a roll for my beloved Versailles. There is so much to see here, pity folks only come for the castle,nice as it is itself, get out into the town and see wonderful sights. Versailles is my former home for those new to my blog.

I like to tell you a bit about a nice park which again been there with the family on picnics and just hanging around and so little pictures, found one of the front panel going into the park lol! sorry I like to tell you about the Parc Balbi !

Parc Balbi is an English-style park, located next to the Potager du Roi or King’s Garden in the Saint Louis district of Versailles, dept 78 Yvelines of the ïle de France region. It is part of the historical heritage of the city and very often overlook by visitors, but a wonderful park to visit as well.  You will go to very narrow old streets of old Versailles, the park itselt is 2,6 hectares ( 6.4 acres) and you access it by 12 rue  du Maréchal Joffre. One of my family’s favorite is the Parc Balbi, and as usual when living there not enough pictures lol! I hate to write a post with so little photos but is a must to tell you about it first.


In 1785 the Count of Provence (brother of king Louis XVI , and future king Louis XVIII) and the countess of Balbi (Anne de Caumont -La Force) buys the land here; to use as enjoyment for the countess Balbi. The garden is done in 1786 by gardener/architect Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin. In 1791 in the French revolution they had to leave, and in 1792 the plants and vegetables, trees of it are taken and transfer to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. The new garden had a winding stream, islands, and a belvedere atop an artificial grotto, in the picturesque style of the time. In 1798, the pavillon and garden features were demolished, but traces of the alleys and the lake are still visible, the park is still free.

After the French revolution, many owners pass by the park until finally in 1828 it is sold to the State.  In 1907 the school Jules Ferry is located here and a door had access to the Potager du roi. In 1914 the park is given to the horticulture school., and with the coming of WWI the park is left abandoned, until 1930 again it is renovated.  During WWII the park is again abandoned until 1960 a new plan of renovation takes effect.  Finally in 1982 the park is open to the public all done. It has a cave original from its creation in 1786 deep in the forest of the park, to reach it from the Potager du roi only. Very nice area.  It is open during the school holidays in the area, and normally Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 9h to 17h, sometimes later in summer.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Versailles on parc Balbi

Tourist office Yvelines 78 on parc Balbi

Hope you enjoy , it is in a nice area next to the Potager du Roi and by the Cathedral Saint Louis area. Enjoy it with the family on your walks on the marvelous streets of Versailles.

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

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