King's Kitchen Garden
To supply his table, Louis XIV ordered his gardener, J.-B. de La Quintinye, to create a vast kitchen garden on the edge of what would later become the Saint Louis district.
Work began in 1678 and the king's garden began to produce in 1683, in spite of exceptionally unproductive earth. La Quintinye even managed the feat of growing fresh fruit and vegetables, such as lettuce in January, strawberries in March, and melons in June …
Another famous product from the kitchen garden was fresh peas, a novelty at the time and considered special treats. But the king's greatest pride was its fruit trees, and he sometimes would show his garden to his guests, taking them through the superb gate on the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses side.
The Kitchen Garden, covering 9 hectares, retains its original subdivisions, but its spectacularly shaped fruit trees are the fruit of Nineteenth Century know-how. At the time, the garden had become the headquarters of the Ecole Nationale d’Horticulture, which has since given way to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Paysage.
King's Kitchen Garden:
10 rue du Maréchal Joffre 78000 Versailles.
Tel: +33(0)1 39 24 62 62
Fax: +33(0)1 39 24 63 38
4.50€ weekdays and 6.5€ on weekends and holidays.
Reduced rate: 3€ (students, job seekers, children from 12 to 17).
Free to children under 11.
Groups with lecturer (max. 30 people per Group): 155€ (98€ for schoolchildren).
35€ surcharge for foreign language tour.
From January 6 to March 27 2009:
- Open Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
From March 28 2009 to October 31 2009:
- Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with lecture tours Saturdays, Sundays and holidays at 11:00 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The Kitchen Garden Shop is open:
From April 1st to October 31 from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
From November 1st to March 31, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
It carries seasonal fruit and vegetables, processed products and a "garden and landscaping" bookstore.
How to get there:
RER line C exit at Versailles Rive Gauche (5 minutes by foot).
Tourisme et Handicap (disabled persons):
The King's Kitchen Garden is partially accessible to wheelchair occupants). RER C from Paris.