The Palace of Versailles is engaged in restoring the Queen’s Grove. A project of several months during which the Grove will not be accessible to visitors.
In this, the 20th anniversary of the great storm of 1999, the replanting of the Queen’s Grove will ensure that the Palace of Versailles continues to pursue its policy of restoring and enhancing the gardens, which are really plant-laden extensions to the royal residence. The Queen’s Grove deteriorated considerably during the 19th and 20th centuries, and today is a mere shadow of what it once was, although it still retains most of the original layout. The walks with their imposing foliage have now become unremarkable paths and the botanical diversity has gone, giving way to uniform bushes.
Before the restoration begins, some detailed documentary archeological research has been undertaken to determine the original layout as precisely as possible : plants, furnishings, sculpted décor, etc. First, the central square and the access paths will be replanted with tulip trees, so that the Grove will once again be filled with plant life, as in the time of Marie-Antoinette.
A colossal project
This two-year project is divided into three periods of time. First, the central square and the access paths will be replanted with tulip trees, so that the Grove will once again be filled with plant life, as in the time of Marie-Antoinette. This work will be followed by a gradual replanting of the vegetation around the perimeter. The small arbours will be planted with trees and flowering shrubs.
The tree and shrub species will be selected from a wide range of plants, consistent with those used in the Gardens at the end of the 18th century. This great diversity of flowering trees will give each arbour in the Grove its own indidvidual atmosphere and each will have its own name : white fringe tree arbour, hawthorn arbour, staghorn sumac arbour …
An unusual Grove
Created in 1776 to replace the Maze Grove, this ornamental garden bordering the Orangery Parterre was designed especially for Queen Marie-Antoinette so that she could have somewhere secluded to walk , away from the many visitors to the Palace.
The Queen’s Grove is unusual among the Gardens of Versailles, as it is the only one whose fame and magnificence lie in its plant components.
The design reflects the taste at that time for landscaped gardens, combining the precision of the French Court, with the twists and turns of the walks inspired by the new English-style gardens.
« The Queen’s Grove is a unique garden. I believe the only way to make it more pleasant and increase the space is to turn it into a Grove in the modern style, to introduce all the foreign trees that have a certain appeal. This space requires artistic variety in the shapes of the trees and their leaves the colour of the flowers, the period when they will be in bloom, and the different shades of foliage …. »
Gabriel Thouin, landscape architect, 22 October 1775
BECOME A PATRON
Alongside one or more major patrons, individuals and companies are invited to take part in this important heritage operation by adopting a flowering arbour or a Virginia tulip tree.
If you have any question, please contact the patronage department by email or telephone by taking a look at the document below.
After more than three years of restoration work, the Queen’s State Apartment is being reopened to the public, providing a great opportunity to revisit three of the Palace of Versailles’ key female characters: Marie-Antoinette, who lived in the Queen’s State Apartment, Marie Leszczynska and Madame de Maintenon.