Potager du roi in Versailles

Sunday, 16 July 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Paris / Île-de-France, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Grand Bassin © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

Grand Bassin © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Potager du roi (Kitchen Garden of the King), near the Palace of Versailles, produced fresh vegetables and fruits for the table of the court of Louis XIV. It was created between 1678 and 1683 by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie, the director of the royal fruit and vegetable gardens. Today it is run by the École nationale supérieure du paysage, the grande école for landscape architects. It is officially recognized as a Remarkable Garden of France. Together with the Palace of Versailles and its park, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

The Potager du roi was conceived as part of the Palace of Versailles, a showcase for the grandeur of France and its king. To design this complex, Louis XIV engaged the designers of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Nicolas Fouquet‘s chateau. Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie had participated in creating the gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte, and was hired to design and build the Potager and to supply the Court with fruits and vegetables, soon after Louis had arrested Fouquet.

The Potager was installed next to the Pièce d’eau des Suisses so that the King could easily take walks there. However, the location was not suitable for gardening; indeed, it was so swamp-like that it was referred to as the “stinking pond”. Therefore, La Quintinie started by installing drains for the excess water and carting in better soil from the hills of Satory.

After this preparatory work, construction continued according to La Quintinie’s plans, with François Mansart designing the walls and terraces. The Potager took five years to build (1678–1683) and cost over a million livres.

© Paris Histoire/cc-by-sa-3.0 Student gardens © Henry Salome/cc-by-sa-3.0 The central alleyway © panoramio.com - franek2/cc-by-sa-3.0 Grand Carré © SiefkinDR/cc-by-sa-3.0 King's Gate © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0 Grand Bassin © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0
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The central alleyway © panoramio.com - franek2/cc-by-sa-3.0
Today the garden is open to the public and annually produces over fifty tons of fruits and thirty tons of vegetables, which are sold in Versailles markets and at the school. About 400 varieties of fruit trees and many varieties of vegetables are grown at the Potager, making more exotic fruits and vegetables available to the French public. In addition to teaching, the school regularly re-introduces historic varieties and carries on an extensive program of experimentation. Students come with at least two years’ prior university education, and spend a further four years studying at Versailles, including carrying out studies on their own small plots, and planning and executing a project on a particular terrain.

The garden is included on the World Monuments Fund‘s 2018 list of monuments at risk to highlight its need to widen its supporter base and adapt to climate change.

Read more on Wikipedia Kitchen garden and Wikipedia Potager du roi (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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