Spend the morning in the palace, before getting lost the gardens and having a picnic for lunch.
The gardens of Versailles occupy some 800 hectares of land on the outskirts of Paris, and every inch is perfectly manicured. From the central window in the Hall of Mirrors, you can look down and see them laid out in grand perspective, dotted with parterres of flowers, sculptures and fountains.
The fountains date from the time of Louis XIV and still use much of the same complex network of hydraulics to produce their powerful jets.
In 1661, Louis XIV commissioned the designer and architect André Le Nôtre. In total, the works to over forty years to complete to the high standards demanded by the reigning monarch. Some other big names took part too - Jules Mansart and Charles Le Brun drew many of the outlines for the statues and built the Orangerie.
Vast amounts of effort were required. Tons of earth were moved by whole regiments of men; trees were imported from all the provinces of France; huge pieces of stone had to be quarried to sculpt the statues that adorn the fountains.
Make sure you take in the Orangerie, situated on a slope to protect the oranges in winter, and the statues from greek mythology which are the only remnants of the Grotte de Thétys.
Otherwise, you can walk for hours between parterres, fountains and bosquets - a typical formal French arrangement of trees, which requires at least five of the same species to be set out in a quincunx.
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