Palace of versailles

Marie-Antoinette’s private garden at the Palace of Versailles will undergo a major restoration

Receiving an average of 7,700,000 visitors each year, the Palace of Versailles House and Gardens, Versailles, France, has become one of Europe’s most visited tourist destinations since it opened in 1631, but that also means Much of the well-trodden, 2,000-acre property is in dire need of renovation. Since becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, plans have come and gone to restore the palace grounds to their original condition, but have been stalled each time due to the difficulty of determine its true “original state”.

Finally, a restoration of at least part of the property has recently begun and will soon be complete with an estimated price tag of $2 million. The Queen’s Bosquet (Le Bosquet de la Reine), a large piece of land that was once the private garden and frequent sanctuary of Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France before the French Revolution, will be restored to the condition it once was. believed to have been in 1776, the year of its completion. During her residence on the property in the mid-18th century, Antoinette hired French architect Michel-Barthélemy Hazon to redesign the plot to the west of the orangery in a style unlike the majority of the obsessively manicured grounds. , opting instead for a rougher English style. style garden with winding paths in which she could walk and contemplate independently. The garden had gradually become overgrown in his absence, and a storm that uprooted more than 15,000 trees from across the property made it even wilder than originally anticipated.

The Queen’s Grove was originally designed to be much less manicured than the French landscaping that surrounds it. (Courtesy of the Palace of Versailles)

Using archaeological research and original documents, the restoration will return the garden to its original state, including reintroducing original plant species as well as reproductions of the sculptures and furniture items that were once scattered across the garden. site. With the Palace of Versailles completely closed to the public due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the restoration team has already planted period tulip trees in its center and, according to the property websitewill be followed by replanting of different plant species along the perimeter before being completed in 2022.