The Bosquets or Groves of the Palace of Versailles !!!

Ok so even thus written on the gardens of the palace/museum of Versailles, there are areas dear to me that have not given the full credit they deserve. Therefore, let me update this older post to tell you a bit more on the bosquets or groves in the garden of the Palace of Versailles. Even thus, I will say again, there is a lot more to see in the city than the palace, just browse thru my blog search Versailles; you will be amaze of what you find here!

They are many but I do have my favorites. Nevertheless, will tell you  a bit on all and then some. Hope you enjoy it as I. Info: Of the fifteen current groves, only five groves of Le Nôtre have been preserved or found their original appearance: the grove of the Girandole and the grove of the Dauphin which are essentially lounges of greenery, the grove of Enceladus, the Grove of the Three Fountains and that of the Ballroom.

The Queen’s grove. This grove replaced the famous Labyrinth grove, installed in 1665-1666 and enhanced in 1677 with a series of thirty-nine painted lead fountains in a lifelike representation of the animals in Aesop’s fables. This wonder was destroyed when the gardens were replanted in 1775-1776 and replaced by today’s grove. Initially called Venus’s Grove and later the Queen’s Grove.

The Ballroom grove is one of my favorites.  The Ballroom Grove was the last grove to be laid out in the gardens by Le Nôtre. The works began in 1680 and were completed in 1685. The Bosquet des Rocailles or Salle du Bal is located near the following places for direction: to the north, the rampe du Midi, which separates it from the parterre de Latone, to the east, the parterre du Midi, to the south, the bosquet de la Reine, scattered by the allée de Bacchus-and Allée de Saturne ,to the west the bosquet de la Girandole. The Bassin de Bacchus is located at the southwest corner, the fontaine du Midi at the northeast corner.  The Ballroom grove has three entrances on the Allée de Bacchus-and-Allée de Saturne, in the middle. The Salle de Bal is decorated by several vases and torches in golden lead. Arranged by André Le Nôtre between 1680 and 1683, the grove is the last compound before the installation of king Louis XIV at Versailles. It was inaugurated in 1685. The central zone originally had an oval dance floor, delimited by a small canal. This track is destroyed in the early 18C.

Versailles bosquet de la salle de Bal jan11

The Girandole grove was one of the first groves to be laid out by Le Nôtre in 1663. Designed as green bowers, each has a central chamber adorned with a fountain installed in 1669. To the south, the border of the pool was decorated in 1682 with a reed motif: water jets converged toward the centre of the pool, where a water spout sprang from a metal basket of flowers painted in a lifelike manner. In 2000 the grove and their fountains were restored to their original state.

The Colonnade grove, started in 1685 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the Colonnade replaced the Spring Grove created by Le Nôtre in 1679. In the center, the original pool was replaced in 1696 by the group sculpture by Girardon: The Abduction of Proserpine by Pluto.

The Chestnut grove. The layout of the Chestnut Grove resembles a verdant gallery adorned with a fountain at each end. It replaced a grove designed by Le Nôtre in 1678 .The extremities of this veritable open-air museum were enhanced with fountains. In 1704 Jules Hardouin-Mansart eliminated the fountains and the central island, replacing them with two rows of chestnut trees.

The Grove of the Domes. This grove was frequently refashioned and its name changed as the decor was modified. Created by Le Nôtre in 1675, it has an amphitheatre design with the central arena occupied by a hexagonal pool surrounded by a golden metal balustrade adorned with eighteen pillars, each projecting water that gushes into the pool. Between 1684 and 1705, the grove was home to the three sculpted groups from the Grotto of Thetis, which had just been demolished. Finally, in 1708, the central fountain was replaced by a white marble bowl propped up by dolphins.

The Enceladus grove , has a fountain made of lead by Gaspard Marsy between 1675 and 1677. The subject is borrowed from the fall of the Titans, buried under the rocks of Olympus by the gods they had wished to dethrone. The design of the grove, its surroundings punctuated with trellis pavilions linked by bowers, was entirely modified in 1706 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. A restoration programme conducted between 1992 and 1998 restored the original appearance of the grove.

The Obelisk grove has a general outline that iss all that remains of the Feasting Chamber Grove laid out by Le Nôtre between 1671 and 1674 and completely redesigned by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1705-1706.

The Apollo’s baths grove is another of my favorites. Today’s Apollo’s Baths Grove dates from the reign of Louis XVI and was laid out between 1778 and 1781. The painter Hubert Robert designed an English-style garden with its centre occupied by a lake, overlooked by an immense artificial rock enhanced with cascades and a grotto where the Apollo group was installed, while the two Horses of the Sun groups were positioned on either side. The Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon is a decoration in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. Located immediately west of the castle, it was made in the romantic spirit under the reign of king Louis XVI, between 1776 and 1778. In 1778, the former Bosquet du Marais created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1704 under the probable instigation of Madame de Montespan, becomes the Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon. In 1704, the three groups were installed in the bosquet de la Renommée , which occupied the northeast corner of the current grove and took the name of Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon.   To protect the works, frail iron canopies trimmed golden lead ornaments were completed in 1705.

Versailles bosquet de bains d apollon mar13

In 1778, the statues were moved in the bosquet du Marais redesigned for the occasion and which then takes the name of the bosquet des bains d’Apollon. For the redevelopment of the grove an artificial cave in the middle of a green landscape dotted with waterfalls and small pools of water, in the Anglo-Chinese style then fashionable. An English garden whose center is occupied by a lake dominated by a huge dummy rock adorned with waterfalls and dug a cave in which is installed the group of Apollo, while the two groups of the Horses of the Sun are placed from either side. Apollo is accompanied by five nymphs, in the grotto of the Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon, a set of seven statues, the first masterpiece carved in marble and probably the most important for Versailles. The central figure of the composition was freely inspired by the Apollo Belvedere and also evoked that of the King, two side groups representing the Horses of the Sun which replaced those of December 1667.

The Star grove was laid out in 1666, took its name from its shape, one of the most complex in the garden. It was reached by four pathways leading from the corners of the surrounding woods. Early in the 18C the grove was modified profoundly and its complicated layout was eliminated along with the pool. A restoration programme has recently reproduced a part of the plan used by Le Nôtre , such as a circular pathway and meandering paths, with the heart of the grove remaining a lawn.

The Water Theatre Grove was laid out between 1671 and 1674 and enabled the hydraulics engineers François and Pierre Francine to deploy their talents to the full. Being extremely costly to maintain, the Water Theatre was replaced at the end of the 18C by the more modest Green Ring Grove.  The Palace of Versailles launched an international competition in 2009 to restore the grove, and the new grove was inaugurated in 2015.

The Grove of the three fountains was created by Le Nôtre in 1677 and is the only one mentioned on an old map as being “the King’s idea”. Running parallel to the Water Walk, the natural slope dictated the layout over three distinct levels linked by cascades. It was restored in 2005.

The Triumphal arch grove installed by Le Nôtre between 1677 and 1684 ;only remaining part is the lower part, near the Neptune Fountain. It was reached, and is still reached, from the upper terrace, by a great Triumphal Arch of golden metal gleaming with water jets and cascades.

The official Palace of Versailles on its groves (most info above taken from): https://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/gardens/groves#triumphal-arch-grove

The gardens are a must to visit and will take you a whole day to see it all. This is a huge property and unfortunately most foreign guides tells you to head for the inside and then the rest. To me it should be the other way around one day gardens one day inside and then maybe another half day for the Trianons/Hameau. Then , you can leave saying you saw the Domaine de Versailles , and not just the palace! Enjoy the bosquets or groves of my beloved Palace of Versailles.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: