le bon jardinier

The scale and magnificence of French garden design during the reign of Louis XIV (1638 – 1715) was represented by his chateau at Versailles becoming the model for Europe, if not the whole world at that time in all the arts. The gardens at Versailles with their parterres, pools, sculptures and groves formed a natural complement to the chateau. Despite later alterations they remained a model for a ‘French’ garden in which, according to the classical taste, nature is subjugated to a strict design. Under the revolution they narrowly escaped destruction and despite the removal of statues during the 19th century, they have in general, retained their original appearance. The Great Park covered 14,820 acres and was surrounded by 27miles of walls under the Ancien Regime. Today it only has 2013 acres. In old age Louis was seen to wheel Andre Le Notre (1613 – 1700) around the grounds of Versailles in his bath chair. He earned everyone’s respect and the title le bon jardinier, gardener of Kings and King of gardeners.

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