Le Potager du Roi de Versailles

The King's Vegetable Garden of Versailles

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Located in France, near Paris, in the heart of the city of Versailles and the Palace of Versailles, an exceptional French heritage site, the Potager du Roi is one of the most prestigious gardens not to be missed.

His history

Le Potager du Roi was built between 1678 and 1683 by the gardener and botanist Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinie, at the request of Louis XIV. Known for his skills in the field of fruit and vegetable gardens, JB de La Quintinie became director of all the royal fruit and vegetable gardens. In 1678, he undertook the creation of a new vegetable garden in Versailles, the purpose of which was to supply the King's table with fruit and vegetables.

The prowess of Quintinie made the vegetable garden of Versailles a model. The King's Vegetable Garden therefore makes it possible to offer the king fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year and during royal celebrations. He also regularly delivers his production to the Palace of Versailles when the King is present, and ensures that it is sent to him in large suitable baskets when he is not at the Palace.

At the time of the French Revolution, the vegetable garden went through a long period of uncertainty. Partly rented to private individuals for a few years, a first attempt was made to use the Potager du Roi as an educational site: the experimental garden of the School of Versailles was installed at the end of the 18th century in the Potager du Roi. The Vegetable Garden returns to the domain of the Crown with the end of the Republic and returns to its primary purpose, production.

1926, the King's vegetable garden is classified as a historical monument. It is an integral part of the Versailles site, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The King's Vegetable Garden can be visited! Since 1991, the vegetable garden has been open to the public.

Visits can be made freely, or commented by a guide, in groups or individually, or on the occasion of many cultural events (theatre, dance, exhibitions, heritage days, etc.) amateurs and enthusiasts will be able to enjoy this place. steeped in history, in its natural setting.

A production garden

Le Potager du Roi is designed as an intensive production garden. By building walls that protect against frosts and preserve the heat of the sun, by using fresh manure from the stables, by playing with various exhibitions, by using glass shelters and bells, La Quintinie is developing elaborate techniques to obtain off-season harvests. The extraordinary results obtained have made the reputation of the Potager du Roi de Versailles, which makes it possible to offer fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year.

“Heat, both in the earth and in the air, can only regularly come from the rays of the sun. I dare say, however, that I was lucky enough to imitate it on a small scale with regard to a few small fruits: I ripened some five and six weeks ahead of time, for example strawberries at the end of March, early ones, and peas in April, figs in June, asparagus and head lettuce in December, January, etc."
extract from JB de La Quintinie in his Instruction for fruit and vegetable gardens, in 1690. He thus managed to have cherries in May or cucumbers at the beginning of April.

A real urban garden, the Potager du Roi extends over 9 hectares.

Today, 450 fruit varieties and 400 vegetable varieties are grown in the Potager du Roi. 15 tons of fruit and 25 tons of vegetables are produced each year. With around 4,000 espaliered trees, the King's Potager is the world's largest collection of trees grown in ancient fruit form. Fruits and vegetables from the Potager du Roi are a delight for Versailles residents in the shop – bookstore located at the entrance to the Potager – 10, rue du Maréchal Joffre – 78000 Versailles - Yvelines.

The plants in the King's Potager are grown the old-fashioned way. The gardeners and landscaper students at the Potager du Roi cultivate the plants by hand, using old-fashioned cultivation methods.

In addition, the King's Potager uses sodding to no longer use phytosanitary products in the King's Potager.

Gardeners also accept the presence of certain varieties of flies, bumblebees, fungi, bacteria, mammals and plants depending on their usefulness.

Plants grown according to the principle of agroecology. Agroecology consists of reducing one's environmental footprint by taking biodiversity into account. The 4 fundamental principles of agroecology: no synthetic chemical treatment, the use of growing aids, the use of plant cover and intercropping, the application of the principles of agroforestry.

Le Potager du Roi, beyond preserving nature, has set itself the task of preserving old-fashioned pruning practices with more than 40 different fruit forms.

A training garden

In 1873, the National School of Horticulture was created in the Potager du Roi: it was then given responsibility for the garden.

Today, the École Nationale Supérieure de Paysage (ENSP), a public establishment under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, trains state-qualified landscapers and ensures the enhancement of the King's Kitchen Garden.

Each promotion of landscape students from the National School of Landscape (ENSP) takes charge of a space in the King's Vegetable Garden. They are “guided” by an experienced artist gardener.

Since 1986, the ENSP's ecology department has been programming practical gardening work in the Vegetable Garden, supplementing theoretical courses and tutorials on the use of plants.

Mademoiselle Saint Germain & the King's Vegetable Garden

It all started in 2016 when Charles Cracco, living in Versailles, asked the Potager du Roi for this extraordinary adventure. The partnership is based on 2 aspects: the use of fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs from the Potager du Roi following historical beauty recipes, but also the collaboration with ENSP students in the development work of Mademoiselle products. Saint Germain. That's why, with the help of the school's landscape students, we were able to reintroduce the white Bonneuil cucumber, with its extraordinary virtues, for our cucumber range; but also to create all of our packaging with the magnificent botanical plates of a student from the school.

Find out more: https://www.mademoisellesaintgermain.com/la-marque/

More informations,

http://www.potager-du-roi.fr/site/potager/

http://www.ecole-paysage.fr/site/ensp_fr/index.htm

Deputy to the Director in charge of the King's Vegetable Garden: Antoine Jacobsohn

Director of the National School of Landscape: Mr. Vincent Piveteau

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