Château de Versailles

A year to celebrate Le Nôtre

A year to celebrate Le Nôtre

In 2013, the Palace of Versailles is paying tribute to André Le Nôtre, the creator of the Versailles gardens. Find out about the programme of exhibitions, restorations, shows and events.

Throughout 2013, the Palace of Versailles is paying tribute to André Le Nôtre, the creator of the Versailles gardens.

To mark the 400th anniversary of his birth, we are shining the spotlight on Louis XIV's gardener, the exceptional architect and landscaper, but also on the experienced art collector, friend and confidant of the king, and a man whose aesthetic sense continues to inspire creators all over the world.

Restoration work, exhibitions and performances will honour the genius of André Le Nôtre and the gardens of Versailles, his masterpiece.

 

 

Le Nôtre in perspectives. 1613-2013

Exhibition from 22 October 2013 to 23 February 2014

Le Nôtre in perspectives exhibition

 

 

 

The gardens of Versailles, mobile app

The Gardens of Versailles mobile app

 

 

Restoration of the Latona basin and the royal perspectives

Restoration of the Latona basin

 

 

Giuseppe Penone at Versailles

Exhibition from 11 June to 31 October 2013

Penone exhibition at Versailles

 

 

The Labyrinth grove

The Labyrinth grove exhibition

 

 

The King's Flowers

Exhibition from 2 July to 29 September 2013

The King's herb garden exhibition

 

 

Water Theatre Grove and Gilded Children basin

Reconstruction of the Water Theatre

 

 

Return of two monumental sculptures

Return of sculptures

 

 

The gardens of Versailles, a setting for celebrations

 Festivities and performances

 

 

The Versailles Lire au jardin prize for garden books and press

The Versailles Lire au jardin

Exhibitions

To mark the 400th anniversary of André Le Nôtre's birth, the Palace of Versailles will be paying tribute to him throughout the year 2013. Four exhibitions will reveal or shed new light on the art and work of Louis XIV's gardener.

Portrait d'André Le Nôtre André Le Nôtre in perspectives exhibition

André Le Nôtre in perspectives. 1613 - 2013

Exhibition from 22 October 2013 to 23 February 2014

The grand finale of the year, the André Le Nôtre in Perspectives. 1613 - 2013 exhibition. Running counter to the received wisdom, 1613 – 2013 offers a surprising new image of the man, his art and his influence. Gardener, designer, architect, engineer and hydraulics specialist, landscaper and town planner, collector, spatial magician – André Le Nôtre, a close friend of the king, transformed the dreams of princes into reality. The exhibition also explores his fascinating modernity in today's world.

"The excellence of his works accorded with the greatness and magnificence of the Monarch whom he served and who showered him with honours."

Epitaph of André Le Nôtre

Penone Versailles

Giuseppe Penone at Versailles

Exhibition from 11 June to 31 October 2013

For its annual encounter with contemporary creation, the Palace of Versailles welcomes Giuseppe Penone.

The artist, a leader in the Arte Povera movement, will punctuate Le Nôtre's gardens with his sculptures of trees, in which vegetable and mineral come together to reveal their essence.

"The geometric architecture and complex structure
of the gardens designed by Le Nôtre, the multiple
points of view and the criss-crossing perspectives
create a visual kaleidoscope."

Giuseppe Penone

Exposition Le bosquet du Labyrinthe The Labyrinth grove exhibition

The Labyrinth grove

Exhibition

Designed by André Le Nôtre and Charles Perrault to educate the Dauphin, the grove of the Labyrinth was one of the most imposing spaces at Versailles. Almost forty fountains decorated with 333 painted lead animals depicted Aesop's fables in the heart of a maze of trellises and rockeries.

Destroyed in the eighteenth century, this magical place will be brought back to life by an exhibition at the Versailles municipal library housed in Louis XV's former Foreign Ministry.





The King's Flowers

The King's Flowers

Exhibition from 2 July to 29 September 2013

The flamboyance and diversity of the species in the Trianon gardens are due to a long-lasting passion for botany that held sway at court during the seventeenth century. This summer, the exhibition unveils the jewels of the Museum's vellum collection, initiated by Louis XIV and his uncle Gaston of Orléans to study and conserve rare flowers. Echoing this presentation in the Cotelle gallery, the Trianon gardeners recreate a historic flowering of its beds: dark blue hyacinths, daffodils from Provence, narcissus Constantinople…

The exhibition is organised with the exceptional collaboration of the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle.


Restorations and recreations

To mark the 400th anniversary of André Le Nôtre's birth, the Palace of Versailles will be paying tribute to him throughout the year 2013. Restored works and recreated views and wooded groves will revitalise the splendour of the gardens.

L'enlèvement d'Andromède par PerséePerseus and Andromeda


26 June 2013 : Return of Perseus and Andromeda and Milo of Croton


Perseus and Andromeda
and Milo of Croton, two masterpieces by Pierre Puget, come back to frame the entrance to the Green Carpet.

The two sculpted groups have been reconstructed based on the originals, on display at the Louvre. In the original location specified by Louis XIV, the casts restore to the perspective of the gardens a baroque flavour that is too often forgotten.

More informations on Milo of Croton on the website of the Louvre.

Find out more about the return Perseus and Andromeda and Milo of Croton.

Restoration of the Latona fountain : discover the website

Restauration du bassin et du parterre de Latone Restoration of the Latona fountain and parterre

The Latona fountain and parterre


Fountain engineers, gardeners, sculptors, gilders … All the master craftsmen of Versailles will be mobilised to restore the centrepiece of the gardens. In the middle of the grand view, visitors will be able to see what is never usually visible: the hydraulic secrets, the art of pruning topiary and the skills and expertise of the restorers. A unique project made possible through the support of the Philantropia foundation.

Royal perspectives


The gardeners of Versailles, continuing the work of reconstituting the spaces designed by Le Nôtre in the seventeenth century, will focus on restoring the splendour of the Versailles parterres in 2013. In partnership with the Versailles town council, the Mortemets royal walks will be restored to their historic configuration, offering a new walking circuit. The replanting of the Marly royal walk, begun in November 2012, will continue.

The fountain of the Island of Children

The Water Theatre grove


Landscape architect Louis Benech and artist Jean-Michel Othoniel have been invited to reinterpret the Water Theatre grove, destroyed in 1775. With curious perspectives and recurring rhythms, this evocation of Le Nôtre's work will restore the reference points and dimensions of the long-disappeared grove, which will be permanently open. Visitors will be drawn into a rhythmic walk punctuated with pauses in the shade of green oaks before reaching a large clearing of light and water.

Find out more on the landscaping of the Water Theater grove

 

Performances, festivals and events

To mark the 400th anniversary of André Le Nôtre's birth, the Palace of Versailles will be paying tribute to him throughout the year 2013. The programme includes performances, events and a mobile app.

© Th. Nava

The gardens of Versailles, a setting for celebrations


Festivities and performances are more than just an ornament to the gardens; they have been its soul and purpose since the days of Louis XIV. In 2013, the gardens of Versailles will resonate with the music of the seventeenth century or "Grand Siècle", the detonations of fireworks and the play of the water in the pools and fountains. Concerts, ballet, theatre and operas will crown Le Nôtre's anniversary during the Versailles Festival in June and July.









© EPV

The Versailles Lire au jardin prize for garden books and press


To mark the "Rendez-vous aux Jardins" open gardens event organised at the Petit Trianon between 31 May and 2 June 2013, the Versailles Lire au jardin prize, chaired by Didier Decoin, will reward the best work in various categories: children, practical advice, reflections on gardening.











© EPV

The gardens of Versailles, a mobile app


In spring 2013, visitors will be able to take a tour of the gardens in the footsteps of Le Nôtre. The mobile app, produced in partnership with Orange, will reveal the king's garden through the eyes of those who have inspired it and brought it to life: gardeners, historians, fountain engineers, writers, creators.