French garden and Chateau

French garden at Versailles

Louis XVI & Marie-Antoinette’s playground.

A day’s walk through this outstanding garden on the edge of Paris is a must and in 1661 saw Louis XIV commission André Le Nôtre with the design and laying out of the French garden which, in his view, were just as important as the Château. The works were undertaken at the same time as those for the palace and took forty years to complete.

The laying out of the French garden required enormous work, vast amounts of earth had to be shifted to lay out the flower beds, the Orangerie, the fountains and the Canal, where previously only woods, grasslands and marshes dominated the landscape. Soil was transported in wheelbarrows, the trees were conveyed by cart from all the provinces of France and thousands of men, sometimes whole regiments, took part in this vast enterprise.

Since 1992, the French garden have been gradually replanted, and after the devastating storm of recent years. From the central window of the Hall of mirrors in the Chateau you look down on the grand perspective that leads the gaze from the Water Parterre to the horizon.

There are small but quant café’s in the gardens offering a nice rest point under the shade of the magnificent trees. At one café the paper mats that are given freely make excellent BBQ mats in Australia if laminated on both sides.

Wandering from the Petit Trianon to the Queen’s Gardens, passing by the Hamlet. The Estate, opened in 2006, reveals Marie-Antoinette’s private life. Louis XVI’s wife loved this place where she could return to the pleasures of simple, rural pursuits, away from the pomp of Versailles.


Even though some 100 coaches arrive each day with visitors for the Chateau and French garden, we are pleased to say there is always a quiet corner for those who wish to lie in the shade. There are buggies available for those that find walking a difficulty.

Gardener or not this estate needs to be experienced at least once in your life, Europe Driving Holidays takes you directly to the front of the Chateau at times with the least number of visitors and shielding you from that feeling of being in a cattle run.

Some thanks should also go to the French tax payers of yesteryear.