Restoration of the grove of Apollo’s Bath
The Obelisk fountain was built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1704, to replace the old Festive Room or Council Room, laid out by Le Nôtre in 1671. Decorative features and sculptures in moulded lead were used at the time to adorn the fountains of the garden of the Grand Trianon.
The Dauphin ‘s Grove, also known as “The Two Groves” along with the Girandole, is one of the very first designed by André Le Nôtre around 1660. At the end of the 17th century, the sculptor Théodon completed the series of sculptures dedicated to the seasons and mythological gods.
This grove was one of the first to be laid out by André Le Nôtre in the northern part of the Garden, in 1666. The star-shaped pattern of the principal paths, the labyrinth of internal paths, with the centre laid out as a ‘greenery room’ enlivened by the jets of the fountain and enclosed by trellises, make it a genuine open-air salon.
This grove, formerly called the Marsh, was laid out during the reign of Louis XIV, between 1670 and 1673, at the request of Mme de Montespan, it is said. In 1704, Jules Hardouin-Mansart designed for this place a new grove intended to host the groups of the Sun Horses and Apollo served by the Nymphs. These groups were sculpted between 1664 and 1672 to adorn the famous Grotto of Tethys, and when the latter was destroyed to build the north wing of the Château, it was transferred to the Grove of the Domes. Hardouin-Mansart then designed this place to highlight these particularly remarkable works. In 1776, one year after the order given by Louis XVI to replant the park, the painter Hubert Robert was commissioned to produce a new layout. The grove which he imagined, completed in 1778, was laid out in the then fashionable style of English-Chinese gardens. This one has survived to our day.
To the north of the gardens, between the Green Round (the former Water Theatre Grove) and the Star (the former Water Mountain Grove), hidden away from the most frequented walks, there is a circular pool with a rock in the centre. The Children’s Island, a light-hearted masterpiece, was sculpted by Hardy in 1710. Six nude children play with flowers while two others splash about in the water.
Designed by Le Nôtre in 1677, this grove is the only one mentioned on an old plan as “from the king’s thoughts”. It consists of three terraces each with a different fountain. Restored in 2005, it has recovered its magnificent composition and its jets of water desired by the king: in the lower fountain, the jets form a fleur-de-lys in the centre, vertical spouts and a vault of water, while above it is a column of water formed by 140 jets; moreover, it is this imposing column which supplies the lower fountains. Well hidden by the trellises, this grove had been laid out so that the king, aged 39, then suffering from gout, could reach it seated in a chair with castors and get up the grassy access ramps.
Completed between 1679 and 1683, this grove has only one fountain, La France triomphante, the work of the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Tuby. However, during the reign of Louis XIV, a large triumphal arch was built here and gave its name to this ‘green salon’. Two fountains not far from the Three Fountains, La Gloire and La Victoire, have not survived and were probably melted down in the 19th century.