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).

Versailles

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!!!

 

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