Created in the seventeenth century by Jean Baptiste de La Quintinie for Louis XIV, Le Potager du Roi, the King’s vegetable garden has played a important role in supplying all the needs for fabulous banquets at the court of Versailles. Once a marshland the ground was cleared and new soil from the nearby Satory Hills was used to create the garden. Construction of the walls were confided to Mansart and the royal gates were built in front of the “rising terraces or terrasse du levant”. Similar structures of the rising and setting terraces follows the strict daily ceremonial of the levees and couchees (rising and setting) of Louis XIV who sees himself as the Sun King. It is through these gates facing the “rising terraces” that Louis XIV used to enter the garden. Listed as historical monument since 1926 the garden is open to the public since 1991. Designed in the purest French style with geometric lines squares and terraces the fountain is placed at the centre of the Grand Carré. There were 29 gardens at the time of Louis XIV mostly orchards with apples and pears.Today most of the major plants are centralized along the 16 garden squares surrounding the Grand Carré. More gardens and orchards can be seen beyond these terraces with fruit trees including peaches, nectarines, kiwi. Exotic fruits are grown in the greenhouses as early as the eighteenth century where you can still see the original greenhouse. Take a peek inside these greenhouses and look at some tropical plants and coffea trees. The garden today is run by the National school of Landscape Architecture (ENSP) part of the French Ministry of Agriculture. Walk along the vegetable paths and see some seasonal fruits and vegetables like rows of Gariguette variety of strawberries, various cabbages and lettuces, peppers, broccoli, beans, carrots.
In one corner are varieties of squash, beans and other greens. The garden produces each year nearly 30 tons of fruits and 20 tons of vegetables. There is a small shop at the entrance where you can purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables from the garden.
There are more than 450 kinds of fruits, vegetables and ancient varieties cultivated in the garden. Here we are at the Jardin Lelieur home to apples, pears and figs located just behind the “terrasse du couchant”
Le Potager du Roi
10, rue du Maréchal-Joffre
Telephone: 01 39 24 62 62
Categories: Potager du roi Versailles