• LOCATION 9 | Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens

    Grand Canal

    You are now at the midpoint of the two water basins rimmed with statues. Stop the moment you can see the entire length of the Grand Canal in the distance.

    Notice the shapes of the water pools at the far, middle and near points of the Canal, how they appear identical in size and shape from here. This is an optical illusion by the landscape artist, André Le Nôtre. In fact, the far pool is twice as long as the middle one at the cross, and the middle one is twice as long as the near pool. Le Nôtre was a master of French style, where wild nature is tamed by man into perfectly straight lines to the naked eye, even if they weren't in reality.

    Continue walking toward the Grand Canal and additional details will reveal themselves. A water basin appears at the foot of the canal with a golden fountain in the middle. In the foreground appears the Royal Way, a 300m-long green carpet of grass framed by statues. Keep walking.

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Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens