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The Water Theatre grove

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Presentation of the project

Open every day - Access only side Neptune fountain.

The Teaser of the opening

The Water Theatre Grove

Designed by André Le Nôtre between 1671 and 1674, this grove is located in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, between the Star grove and the Three Fountains grove. It was originally one of the most elaborate and complex in the gardens.

Following an international competition aimed at garden designers for the restoration of the Water Theatre grove, the landscape designer Louis Benech and the artist Jean-Michel Othoniel were chosen for their contemporary art project.

Map of the Water Theatre Grove
A project by Louis Benech

 

A contemporary garden

The choice made by Louis Benech was to create a welcoming grove, less fragile than those of the 17th century and one that can be left open to the public permanently, enabling visitors to enjoy the intimacy of this “salon of greenery” alone or with their family. The height of the trees selected by Louis Benech – beeches, holm oaks, quercus ilex, phillyrea latifolia, etc. – will not exceed the 17 metres intended by Le Nôtre, thus allowing the grove to be completely invisible from the Palace and to fit into the setting.

To provide a serene and pleasant stopping place, Louis Benech designed a specific bench for the Grove: "Versailles XXI". Through their simple and refined forms, these benches are at once a tribute to the past and a celebration of the present.

Jean-Michel Othoniel's sculpture-fountain


An attractive walk

Visitors are invited to enjoy an attractive walk leading to a large bright clearing with stretches of water. Three fountain sculptures are made by Jean-Michel Othoniel. Set at water level and consisting of gilded interlacing figures and arabesques made from Murano glass beads, the artist’s "signature" material, they are directly inspired by the ballets danced by Louis XIV and described in the Art of Describing Dance by Raoul-Auger Feuillet in 1701. Their dynamic calligraphy echo the embroidery-like parterres of the gardens of Versailles.

This project was imagined with one key guideline: respect for the place and its history. In fact, the grove’s fixtures will be totally reversible: all the masonry and hydraulic structures still present are preserved, and those designed today fit into them.

 

 

Vidéo "Before the opening" video of the grove

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