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  • You are walking in one of the most famous gardens in the world; the royal Gardens of

  • Versailles. The gardens cover a mighty 800 hectares of land. The majority of the land

  • is covered by finely landscaped woodland areas and several magnificent gardens with classic

  • French Garden style. These gardens were founded by Louis XIII in

  • 1632. However, many say that the real founder was his son, Louis XIV, as he was the one

  • who laid the real foundation for the grand garden you can see today. In 1661, Louis XIV

  • hired the best architects, painters, and landscape-designers to work on what would become his life project;

  • the Château de Versailles and its magnificent gardens. In 1682, Louis XIV had his court

  • moved from Paris to Versailles, making it the official royal palace of France.

  • From this point on, Louis began an embellishment and expansion program at Versailles that would

  • occupy his time and worries for the remainder of his reign. At this time, the expansion

  • of the gardens followed the expansions of the château and each step was carefully managed

  • under the king's directions. At some stages, Louis even put more focus on the gardens than

  • on the château itself. Throughout the gardens, Louis had a clear theme with focus on the

  • sun god, Apollo, and other solar imagery. This was due to the fact that Louis XIV related

  • himself with the sun and was commonly known as the "Sun King". With this, the gardens

  • assumed the topographical and iconological design that would remain in force until the

  • 18th century. The "Sun King's" successor, Louis XV, did

  • not engage in the same costly building project as the prior ruler. The gardens only saw minor

  • additions during his 60 years at the throne. However, during the reign of the following

  • king, Louis XVI, the gardens underwent a major transformation, as he also had a passion for

  • spending money on Château de Versailles and its gardens. Several tree formations dating

  • back to the era of the "Sun King" were changed and tree were felled and uprooted. This wasn't

  • done of ill will, but rather a necessary step as many of the trees were diseased or over-grown

  • and needed to be replaced. Also, as the 17th century garden had fallen out of fashion,

  • this re-plantation sought to establish a more up to date style in the gardens, a style that

  • would also be less expensive to maintain. The majority of the gardens you can see today

  • dates back to this era, even though minor re-plantations has taken place after the rule

  • of Louis XVI, mainly due natural wear and tear caused for example by storms and erosions.

  • After the following French Revolution, some of the trees in the gardens were felled on

  • order from the reigning National Convention. Sensing the potential threat to Versailles,

  • as it has strong links to the monarchy the revolution sought to destroy, some prominent

  • people convinced the National Convention to open the gardens for the public instead of

  • destroying it. The suggestion was accepted, which likely saved the gardens from destruction.

  • During the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte in early 19th century, Château de Versailles

  • and its gardens were to a large extent ignored. Napoleon had more important things to worry

  • about and cared little about architecture and gardening.

  • Today however, the gardens are everything but ignored. It is one of the most visited

  • sites in France, with several million visitors each year. Both tourists and locals come to

  • the gardens to experience the serenity and beauty it offers.

  • The gardens along with the chateau were inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list in 1979

  • and is today seen as one of the icons of France. Inside the gardens you can admire more than

  • 50 fountains, several statues of bronze and marble and a multitude of beautiful tree formations.

  • Or why not take a walk along the Grand Canal, reaching more than 1.5 km into vast gardens.

You are walking in one of the most famous gardens in the world; the royal Gardens of

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◄ Gardens of Versailles, France [HD] ►

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    ABbla Chung posted on 2013/09/10
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