• LOCATION 61 | Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens

    Storms and glass orbs

    Storms and glass orbs on Versailles, Yvelines audio tour Hidden Messages from the Sun King: A Guide to the Palace of Versailles' Gardens

    Take a right, then an immediate left. The path will widen into a broad open park with good visibility. Walk up to the artwork in the center while I tell you more.

    In 1999 at Christmas, a great hurricane destroyed 20000 trees in Versailles. I was here at the time and can attest to how loud and scary and violent the storm blew. We lost power for five days.

    Some of the woods still haven't recovered, or been abandoned to nature. We've skipped two damaged groves that were on your left after Enceladus.

    In this one, where the storm fell nearly 400 trees, the curators are trying something new. Rather than re-construct how it used to be, spending an enormous amount of public funds, they've allowed a private donor to create their own concept.

    What you see here is a modern interpretation from 2015. Glass orbs are strung together over golden pipes which shoot water. The curved shapes are meant to mimic the steps to dances popular at the court of Louis XIV.

    The choice of surrounding plants is quite different, evoking a drier climate which requires less water and maintenance. This allows this grove to remain open to the public all year. The landscaping is quite a departure from the manicured greenery and straight lines of the rest of the garden.

    When you're ready, keep the pipes and orbs on your right, and trip the light fantastic toward the exit. Take the path closest to the third bench from the end.

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