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The gardens of Versailles The gardens at the chateau provided time out from the restrictions of courtly life. A series of lockable garden rooms and grand spaces with huge vistas were created. Fetes could go on for several days at a time in Louis XIV’s younger days. All in all there was a mind boggling 25 square miles of walled hunting park. were thousands and thousands of pots of flowers which were constantly being moved about so that there were always flowers in bloom. Deadheading was done vigilantly as the king wanted only to see blooming, healthy plants. Sometimes the scent was so overwhelming it drove people inside. Today those gardens can keep you busy for hours and walking for miles – literally. The King’s famous gardener André Le Nôtre had an army of gardeners. There
Versailles after the French Revolution and now After the French Revolution, the furnishings were sold off at knock-down prices, the British royal family being keen buyers. The castle was saved when locals petitioned to keep it thinking that the royal family might return one day. It was turned into a rather innovative museum for the day and was meticulously restored to look just as it did on the morning of October 6 1789. Huge amounts of research have been carried out and it is, says Tony, “a work of extraordinary zeal and a miracle of conservation”. In fact work is still ongoing, when I visited, the bedroom of Louis XV, in which he died of smallpox, was being renovated. It’s still in some ways a working palace. Queen Elizabeth II stayed at the petite Trianon when she visited Versailles, and high profile government meetings still take place here.
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