The Gardens of Versailles is one of the largest formal gardens ever created, located a half-mile from Versailles’ famous palace. This 250-acre grounds, designed by Andre Le Nôtre, features fountains, canals, parterres, woods, lawns, flower beds, artificial lakes, and statues. The gardens’ center is located on a long terrace which gives way to a grand view of the gardens. The main avenue is the Tapis Vert, which leads to the Fountain of Apollo – a symbol of the regime of Louis XIV. Beyond the fountain is the Grand Canal which crosses paths with the Petit Canal. This latter canal streams towards the king’s retreat at Grand Trianon.
The highlight of the Gardens of Versailles is the three fountain groves at the Bassin de Neptune, which become a spectacle of grandeur during the Fêtes de Nuit fireworks show in July. The groves had to be replanted and restored after a hurricane in 1999.