Marie Antoinette’s more natural private garden at the Palace of Versailles is set to be restored to its former glory, as part a $2 million, multiyear restoration project.
The garden, located just to the west of the Orangerie, was originally a labyrinth installed by Louis XIV in the mid-17th century, but by the time Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI, resided at Versailles in the mid-18th century, it had fallen out of fashion and into disrepair.
The queen commissioned architect Michel-Barthélemy Hazon to redesign the plot as her private sanctuary. Inspired by the more natural English Gardens, the private plot was designed not in the classic linear French style of the rest of Versailles’ grounds, but was a less-manicured part of the palace grounds. Plants from North America were imported to fill out the lush garden, including Marie Antoinette’s favorite, the Virginia tulip tree.
The private garden, also known as the Queen’s Grove (Le Bosquet de la Reine), fell into disrepair after Marie Antoinette died and it became overgrown. This was compounded by a bad storm in 1999 which heavily damaged the entire estate, including the private garden which has been mostly out of use since.
The restoration will see the queen’s original vision for her private garden realised once again. The original plant species will be reinstated, as will reproductions of the original sculptures and furnishings.
The first tulip trees were planted this winter ahead of the restoration project. It is expected that the restoration work will continue over the next couple of years.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com