It is true that the great city of Paris and its surroundings still have some surprises in store. There is always a reason to go back to Paris, and this time we’re putting our boots on, and a beautiful hat, to discover its gardens.
Versailles: The garden of the Sun King
Versailles, Porte Royale and Le Potager du Roi. Wikimedia Commons
You’ve no doubt heard of the vast gardens of Versailles
, whether through books, films, or maybe you’ve even been there. But did you know that the king commissioned a veritable kitchen garden in Versailles? That way he could enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables on his table. The same goes for the Orangerie, designed by Louis Le Vau. This way, he had a steady supply of oranges, lemons, and pomegranates year-round. As a result of his affinity for figs, Louis XIV commissioned La Quintinie to create a fig garden just for him. Building the king’s great garden was no easy feat. The swamp had to be drained and fertile soil had to be brought into the chosen site. High walls were also constructed. These days, it is a horticulture school that is open to visitors.
Cloister of Royaumont Abbey. Pierre Poschadel. Wikimedia; And Garden of the Abbey
30 km north of Paris is the abbey, which was recently renovated, in 2016. Now that it has been renovated, we recommend devoting an entire day to this spectacular ensemble. Marvel at the largest Cistercian cloister in France and one of the most beautiful refectories in Europe. Once you’ve taken your time admiring this treasure, we suggest going outside and strolling on the property. Canals that flow through fields and a large grotto, but what brought us here is the garden, or Jardin-Potager in French. This is where they experimented with crops. It was a veritable laboratory at the time. The Abbey also hosts a dance and music festival.
Chantilly: Potager des Princes
Horses grazing in the fields of Chantilly
Just 10 km away from Royaumont is the famous Château of Chantilly. The garden of Princes, with its terraces providing perspective and harmony, was designed by André le Nôtre. Nowadays, it can be visited thanks to the patronage of two individuals, Annabelle and Yves Bienaimé, who saved the garden from an urbanisation project. And created the Living Museum of the Horse in Chantilly. It is thanks to them that we are able to delight in the garden’s vegetation and beautiful specimens in an unrivalled setting. An educational visit while strolling through a French paradise.
Europe’s largest urban garden
The city of Paris has completed the first phase of this mammoth project. It is scheduled to be finished in 2022 and it will take up the equivalent of two football pitches. More specifically, it will be located in Pavilion 6 of the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. You will soon be able to experience and see it in person, but we wanted to give you a preview of this great initiative, the Parisculteurs project.
The goal is to turn the Paris landscape green again to offset the effects of urban pollution and to grow vegetables for local businesses. A virtuous circle for all.