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The Orangerie and parterre

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The Orangerie



Mansart’s work

Overlooked by the Château, the Orangerie with its wide space, high trees and pure lines is one of the crowning achievements of Jules Hardouin-Mansart which best shows his talent as a great architect. Some of the orange trees from Portugal, Spain and Italy, and lemon and pomegranate trees are over 200 years old. They are kept indoors here in winter before being spread during the summer on its flowerbed.

Built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart between 1684 and 1686 to replace the small orangery built by Le Vau in 1663, it consists of a central vaulted gallery 150 metres long, prolonged by two side galleries located under the stairways of the Cent-Marches. The building is lit by large windows. The Orangerie Parterre covers no less than three hectares. In the reign of Louis XIV it was decorated with sculptures now kept in the musée du Louvre. Consisting of six sections of lawn and a circular pool, in the summer it features 1,055 trees in boxes, including palm trees, oleanders, pomegranate trees, eugenias and orange trees that spend the winter inside the building.

The South Parterre, known as the Flower Parterre
The best view of it that one can obtain is probably from the Grand Apartment of the Queen, on the first floor of the Château. Previously known as the Flower Parterre or Cupid Parterre, it is laid out above the Orangerie built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. It is reached by a flight of steps flanked by two of the oldest sculptures of the park, depicting Eros and the Sphinx. The bronze children were modelled by Sarazin, cast by Duval in 1668 and placed on marble sphinxes carved by Lerambert. The flowers and ornamental trimmed hedges form complicated patterns. In the 17th century, during the reign of Louis XIV, brightly coloured flowers were planted and replaced constantly here: wallflowers, hyacinths, jasmines, tulips, narcissi, lilies, sweet Williams and daffodils.


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