Archive for January 1st, 2022

January 1, 2022

The Belvedere du Petit Trianon of Versailles!!!

Here I am bringing you back to my beloved Versailles of wonderful family times living in one of the most visited cities in the world, for good reason. The Domaine de Versailles is a masterpiece all over, and not just the castle/château when we say Domaine it means the whole incluing the gorgeous little Petit Trianon (see post) and its Belvedere and Rock. I have mentioned it briefly in previous posts, therefore, let me tell you a bit more on them in one deserving post.Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Belvédère du Petit Trianon ,or Pavillon du rocher, (Rock pavilion) is a neoclassical garden factory, erected between 1778 and 1781 by Richard Mique, for the queen of France Marie-Antoinette, within the English Garden of the Petit Trianon, in the Domaine de Versailles. We used to go a lot as our jogging leisure walks were by there along the Allée Saint Antoine road coming off the Porte Saint Antoine (see post) by entrance on the Bd Saint Antoine. Walking in on your right you had first the Hameau of Marie Antoinette (see post). Glorious !!! 

Versailles belvedere and grotte gardens hameau apr11

It is a small pavilion of octagonal architecture, it is part of the factories arranged in the new garden of the Petit Trianon by the architect of the Queen and serves as a music room. It is flanked by an artificial rock from which a waterfall springs and is surrounded by miniature mountains, the whole forming an alpine garden. It is guarded by eight stone sphinxes , and the decoration of the eight facades, whose bas-reliefs are an allegory to the four seasons and whose pediments are decorated with the attributes of hunting and gardening. The interior lounge is luxuriously decorated, the arabesques painted on stucco represent scenes from nature, the floor is paved with marble and the ceiling, evokes cherubs moving in a blue sky.

For the realization of this English garden, one applies the ideas of the return to nature of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which one mixes abrupt changes of decoration, characteristics of the countryside of across the Channel, and French intellectual and literary notes.. A sign of this landscape instability, the belvédère, the only element visible from the castle, appears isolated, while, from the other side of the small lake, it is integrated into a rugged landscape The belvédère is the main building of this alpine garden , itself an integral part of the Anglo-Chinese garden thus created.

This small octagonal pavilion, surmounted by a lead dome hidden by a balustrade, stands on a hill overlooking the small lake. Its exterior architecture is octagonal while the interior is circular. The pavilion is raised on a stone plinth also octagonal which accesses four steps guarded by pairs of sphinxes. These were made in 1778 , Very damaged after the French revolution and some even disappeared during the 19C, these statues were restored or copied in Tercé stone; four originals are kept in the reserves, The eight facades of the building are open with four doors and four alternating windows The bas-reliefs overhanging the windows represent seated figures in profile allegory of the four seasons

The pavilion houses a luxurious circular living room, The interior walls are covered with stucco and are painted with arabesques oil , The eastern dome represents cupids in a blue sky, playing with flowers among light clouds, The ground is , paved with a mosaic of turquoise blue, green, veined white and red marble inspired by 16C pavements, This small pavilion was used by Marie-Antoinette as a music room. A piece of furniture of eight shepherdess armchairs and eight chairs with arched backs in plan, like the curve of the room, was delivered in 1781, it was covered with painted white and blue silk and trimmed with luxurious trimmings, Under the Ancien Régime(monarchy) , the pavilion is only furnished when the Queen goes there and only in summer

The Grand Rocher or large rock, whose laborious construction took four years, is the natural counterpart of the belvedere, This artificial mountain, surrounded by conifers, is the very source of the aquatic effect of this little Switzerland sometimes also nicknamed the Alpine garden . From a reservoir located at the back and fed by the Trèfle basin, the waters flow in torrential waters into the lake. A wooden footbridge with a columned pergola for the look. The small lake flows into the meandering river that crosses the English garden to form an island within which is the  temple de l’Amour or temple of love ,and separate into two arms, one of which ends in a ravine intended to conceal the discharge of water and located near the porte verte or green door, Under the Ancien Régime, it is stocked with carp, perch and barbels, for the pleasure of fishing, but also allows rides in boats or gondolas, A landing stage allows easy access to the mountains of the alpine garden

The Palace of Versailles on the English garden and al, :

There you go folks, another dandy beautiful monument in the most beautiful castle property in the world. The Domaine de Versailles and its gorgeous Belvédère and Grand Rocher is a must to see while in Versailles me think.

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

January 1, 2022

The Grand Canal of Versailles!!!

Well had this on other towns and not in my beloved Versailles! I need to put this in my blog and use my pictures from my vault to tell you a bit on the wonderful gorgeous Grand Canal of the Palace of Versailles!!!

We come to the Grand Canal, occupies 24 ha, measuring 1500 meters long and 62 meters wide ,and 1070 meters by 80 meters for the transverse arm with an average depth of 2 meters, and a total periphery of 5.5 km, extends in its main axis the perspective of the garden of the Palace of Versailles towards infinity. Bordered by beeches, oaks, fresnes and cherry trees, it forms a harmonious whole.

versailles grand canal to porte st antoine jun15

In 1674, king Louis  XIV  ordered the construction of the Petite Venise; located by the septentrinal arm of the Grand Canal.  The Grand Canal in the Palace of Versailles is the largest basin in the park. In the shape of a cross, it was built between 1667 and 1679, at the instigation of Le Nôtre. Before that date the park, closed by a gate, stopped behind the bassin des Cygnes or Swan Basin. This monumental piece of water was nevertheless successfully built, cutting off the Ru de Gally which was used to feed the canal.

versailles parterre d eau afar castle jun15

The plan of the Grand Canal is today in the form of a cross whose main east-west perspective is located in the axis of the castle, The work completed in 1679, the Grand Canal will serve as the starting point for the fireworks given during the sumptuous royal festivals that Louis XIV organized in the palace. The Grand Canal also played a practical role. Indeed, located at a low point in the park, it received the water which flowed from the fountains located in the gardens upstream. This was then pumped using a network of pumps driven by windmills and horse-powered mills, then returned to the reservoir placed on the roof of the grotte de Thétys or Thetys cave in order to replenish the fountains. This hydraulic system then operated in a closed circuit.

versailles terrace de centaure by grand canal to trianons jun15

During the French revolution, the Grand Canal will be filled in and will serve as a wheat field ! Fortunately , king Louis XVIII (brother of Louis XVI) will restore it to his original vocation.

Tradition holds the king Louis XIV will sail a substantial fleet there such as a three-masted vessel “Le Grand Vaisseau”, a galley, longboats, galiotes, brigantines, gondolas (offered by the Doge of Venice) and, from 1675, two yachts from England, You can ,now rent boats on the Grand Canal. Boat rental is open every day from 10h to 16h45 (last departure at 6h15). Annual closing: December, January and February , the most winter months,

You can do a tour of the Grand Canal that will allow you to discover superb views of the Palace of Versailles. The distance to be covered is 5.5 km. It takes approximately: 1h to 1h15 by walk, 25 to 30 minutes by bike ,and 35 to 40 minutes in rollerblading.

The Nautical Circle of Versailles organizes in partnership with the Palace of Versailles, once every 2 years, the Regattas of Versailles. Thus, 400 international boats, 1500 rowers take part in one of the biggest rowing races in France,check it out.  Also, the Trophée des Rois (kings trophy) is the rowing regatta organized each year by the Club Aviron ESSEC. The most prestigious French universities have been meeting here for 25 years to compete and compete against invited foreign universities …Indeed check it out

versailles grand canal and boats jun15

One more temporary event coming here is for the 2024 Paris Olympics Games !! This will allow for certain sports events to find an exceptional setting steeped in history to welcome them. A temporary quarry flanked by several stands will be installed at the Etoile Royale, an esplanade which sits west of the Grand Canal, in the heart of the park of the Palace of Versailles. This arena will host two eventing events with one dressage test and one show jumping as well as the show jumping and dressage competitions (Olympic and Paralympic). The cross-country individual and team events will take place near the Grand Canal, and the five components of the modern pentathlon will also be held at the Palace of Versailles ! Be ready it check it out !

The official Château de Versailles on the park and canal

The Versailles tourist office on the palace (2 bis avenue de Paris)

The city of Versailles on the palace:

There you go folks, enjoy this masterpiece of a pond in a gorgeous sublime palace for all humanity. We love it, hope you do too, its a must even for it alone! indeed our favorite playground with the boys! The Grand Canal of the palace/museum of Versailles! Awesome !!!

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

January 1, 2022

Porte Saint Nicolas of Beaune!

Here is another dandy of my road warrior trips so far missing from my blog. Time to remedy that with a post on the Porte Saint Nicolas of Beaune and a picture from my vault. This is a nice town that must be visited at least for the wine ambiance but plenty of architecture and history around. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

For the geographical and history incline in me; Beaune is in dept 21 of the Côte d’Or in the region of Bourgogne-Franche Comté of my belle France. It is about 313 km (194 mi) from Paris, and 743 km ( 461 mi) from my house now.

The Porte Saint-Nicolas was built between 1762 and 1770 on the site of an old fortified medieval gate. The project to build this new gate in the middle of the 18C was in relation with the project of the mayor Jean-François Maufoux to transform into a promenade the part of the ramparts going from the Porte Bretonnière gate to the Porte Saint-Nicolas gate. The door was not completed until May 10, 1770.


In 1792, during the French revolution, the coat of arms of Chavigny was destroyed and the inscription dated 1764, engraved on marble, was removed and replaced by painted and engraved inscriptions: Porte de la Fédération on the pediment, La Nation, La Loi (law), Le Roi (king) on the right, Liberty and Equality on the left. In 1844, the wooden door being in complete state of vestuté, the municipal council decides to replace it by an iron gate, done in 1847, The iron gates of the city gates were sold in 1869. In 1866, to clear the gate, the rampart was cut, the granting office and the porter’s house destroyed. The current gate is in limestone, it has the shape of a triumphal arch. With a beautiful aesthetic, it presents obelisks, cartridges, garlands, medallions, and muzzles of lions.

This monumental Porte St Nicolas or Gate, provides access from the Faubourg to rue de Lorraine. You can come from the suburbs of Beaune on its rocade entry Bd Maréchal Foch or D974 road ; once inside Beaune city proper you are on Rue de Lorraine, Immediately on your left you will the Theater of Beaune and on your right the Oratory Chapel and onward to old city center monuments.

The Friends of the Ramparts of Beaune assoc has more on the Porte St Nicolas

The city of Beaune on its history

The Beaune tourist office on its heritage

There you go folks, an interesting gate in old Beaune, a lot more than wines I said. Hope you enjoy this post on the Porte Saint Nicolas, great to walk it and us drive under it too!!

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

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