Thursday, April 1, 2010

In the King's Garden: Day 4 Versaille, France

Outdoor Food and Clothing Market, Versailles, France -- close for the day

Versaille Palace
Gardens at Versaille
Potager du Roi "The King's Kitchen Garden", Versaille France, GOOGLE MAPs, 2010
Illustration: courtesy of gutenberg.org from "Royal Palaces and Parks of France", Francis Miltoun author, Blanche McManus illustrator, 1910.

Versaille oozes with power. The scope of the chateau, its gardens, fountains, canals and acreage and the legend of the king, Louis XIV, is extraordinary. The sense of control of the meticulously designed gardens is overwhelming.

After the short journey on the train from Paris, Henry and I had an informative garden tour with Maria of Context Travel followed by a mediocre lunch at Gordon Ramsey's La Veranda restaurant at the Trianon Hotel (my pick). A quick trip past the (closed) outdoor food market and back to Paris for a nap before dinner at Chez Catherine.

The king's kitchen garden,
potage du roi, is an historic place on the palace grounds, but unfortunately I didn't get there mostly because there was not much to see in the way of fruits and vegetables in early April and our agenda was action packed.

According to legend, not only did the court eat well (including the thousands who worked at Versailles Palace), Louis XIV would invite important guests to tour the kitchen garden which was center of horticultural experimentation, especially with greenhouses to prolong the growing season. Created around 1678, by Jean-Baptiste de Quintinie who the king hand-selected to design and manage 25 acres of enclosed gardens organized in a 4 x 4 grid including an extensive fig tree garden, le "figerie". The garden's configuration remains today.

Read more at wikipedia and the official site of the garden.

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