The Bousquet de Salle du Bal of the Château de Versailles !!

I have written plenty on Versailles and its marvels, but never enough. I have taken an older picture to create a new post on a wonderful spot in my Château de Versailles, Therefore, let me tell you more on the Bosquet de Salle du Ball or Ballroom Grove in the garden of the Palace/museum of Versailles. I will say again, more than two days are needed to see all here not to mention the rest of the city of Versailles ! You will be amaze of what you find in my glorious Versailles, Hope you enjoy the post as I

They are many but I do have my favorite grove or bosquet. I have written an overall introductory post on the others but the Bosquet de Salle du Bal or Ballroom Grove or also known in French as the Bosquet des Rocailles is my favorite of all,  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 this one of the Ballroom. The Ballroom Grove was the last grove to be laid out in the gardens by Le Nôtre, 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 was destroyed in the early 18C.

Versailles bosquet de la salle de Bal jan11

The works began in 1680 and were completed in 1685. The Grand Dauphin, the son of Louis XIV, organised a great dinner there to celebrate its inauguration. The grove was designed as an amphitheatre of greenery. The central arena had a small island surrounded by a canal on two levels and reached by four small bridges., Le Nôtre put the considerable incline created by the ramps to Latona’s Parterre to skilful use by designing a great cascade , the only one in Versailles, taking up the whole eastern end of the amphitheatre. The cascade has eight levels, is punctuated by marble ramps, and was decorated with millstones and shells, along with tall pedestals and gilt lead vases. The tiers intended for spectators were highlighted by boxwood hedges.  The Bosquet de salle du Ball or Ballroom grove has three entrances on the Allée de Bacchus-and-Allée de Saturne. It 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. 

A bit more detail of it from pamphlets, brochures taken from the Palace/Museum of Versailles in my many friends of Versailles tours of which I am a member since 2004.

The Ballroom Grove was dedicated to dancing, an art which the Sun King willingly tried. The musicians took place above the waterfall and the dancers on a small marble island in the center. The grove is made up of different elements: an open central zone, in an elliptical shape, terraces or steps of grass as a platform and a water buffet made up of steps covered with millstone from Île-de-France, shells and lapis lazuli from Madagascar, as a waterfall, and vases and torchieres in gilded lead. To the south of the Latona parterre, the grove received between 1682-1683 a refined furnishing of vases and torchieres of gilded lead.

On the eastern side, overlooking the great waterfall, four large vases were executed: two vases with handles supported by a dolphin’s head and two vases with handles supported by a lion protome. From the point of view of their general shape, these four vases are related to the ancient model of the famous Vase Médicis. Adorned with garlands and astonishing comedy masks, they are distinguished by the inventiveness of the decorative repertoire implemented. Opposite, on the side of the steps, the four other vases are of relatively simpler shapes, they however have a continuous relief on the belly: the Dance Scene and the Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite are taken up in a childish way by Children’s Bacchanal and Children’s Marine Triumph, Better visible because placed in the lower part, the eight imposing torchieres of the Ballroom Grove somehow evoke the lighting ,but here devoid of lighting specific to places of nocturnal festivities. On the waterfall side, the four torchieres are carried by ox feet: their base is decorated with scenes of children, the upper part with trophies of musical instruments tuned to the function of the place, while curious heads wearing the Phrygian cap appear on the middle part, full of this spirit of invention specific to the repertoire of forms from the world of goldsmithing. On the bleacher side, the four torchieres carried by lion’s paws, are decorated with reliefs of musical instruments and admirable figures of dancers holding musical instruments.

The central part of the Ballroom Grove was originally formed of an artificial island, on which were placed four Tripod Vases decorated with musical instruments, these kinds of large cassolettes were removed when the Ballroom Grove lost his island, at the end of 1706, Inventory of the marbles resulting from the demolition of the island of the Ballroom Grove in 1706. The island appears on the plan of Nicolas de Fer, engraved in 1705 by Charles Inselin, general map of Versailles, its park, its louvre, its gardens, its fountains, its groves and its city. The tripod vases are attested from 1707 in Marly-le-Roi. They appear on the painting by Jean Cotelle painted between 1688 and 1691. They were transferred to Marly, where they took their place at the bottom of the stairs of the castle terrace before disappearing, probably during the revolutionary period.

In 1702, Louis XIV asked his superintendent Jules Hardouin-Mansart to rebronze all the vases and girandoles of the Ballroom Grove, In 1712, the group of The Peace of the Greeks, also called Papirius and his mother, was placed in the grove to the west, on a Languedoc marble plinth sculpted by Jean Hardy. This new device is visible on an engraving by Jacques Rigaud. The group of The Peace of the Greeks came from the entrance to the Allée Royale. According to the antique model in the Roman collection of the Ludovisi, via a plaster version kept in the Salle des Antiques du Louvre, Pursuant to a decree of the Inspection Commission for Ancients dated April 24 1798 (revolutionary period) , the group of The Peace of the Greeks was moved to the Tuileries Garden , The base of the group of The Peace of the Greeks was still vacant when the 1850 inventory was drawn up, The 1857 inventory indicates the group of Love playing there with a satyr from the collection of the Comte d’Artois (future Charles X) and drawn from the reserves of Versailles. This base was empty in 1877.

The official Château de Versailles on the ballroom or bosquet de salle du bal: 

The Bosquet de Salle du Ball or des Rocailles or Ballroom Grove is a must to visit and worth the time me think. 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!  Hope you enjoy the post on the fabolous Bosquet de Salle du Bal inside the magnificent Domaine de Versailles as I

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

2 Comments to “The Bousquet de Salle du Bal of the Château de Versailles !!”

  1. Thanks for the detailed information. It’s on my travel bucket list!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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: