French Friday – Versailles Orangerie

Versailles Palace Orangerie in Autumn
Versailles Orangerie in Autumn. This beautiful arrangment of tubs disappears in the winter leaving only the Paterres.

This vast paterre garden is seen in its full glory in the Autumn when all of the citrus trees are out in the avenues between the paterre beds. As most tourists seem to be put off descending the long flight of stairs to access the Orangerie I was able to get a lovely shot or two free from the loitering hoi polloi.

L′Orangerie du Château de Versailles - Versailles Orangerie
Although a cold Autumn day the chateau takes on an almost Spanish appearance from this angle with all the trees in front.

The actual indoor part of the orangery houses more than 1000 plants and the current design was conceived and constructed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in the 1680s. By the time the orangery was constructed the understanding of plant cultivation had reached a stage where the Versailles trees could be coaxed into giving fruit and flowers all year round, a fact that please Louis XIV greatly (the old sourpuss).

Citrus fruit was still a luxury in Europe which had only been about from the late 15th century so the Orangery was not just a means of getting oranges on a regular basis but was also a splendid display of wealth.

L′Orangerie du Château de Versailles - Versailles Palace France
A view from the immense staircase that leads down into the L′Orangerie du Château de Versailles

And what allowed Orangeries to suddenly spring into existence around Europe? Basically it was the technological advancements that permitted the manufacture of large panes of glass suitable for letting in sufficient light while retaining heat in the cold European climates.

Next week is Recipe share week so if you have a delicious orange based recipe or anything else to tempt the old taste buds then do add a link to your recipe post in the comments below and I will add it to the summary next Friday.

Bon weekend mes amis!


  1. Gorgeous photos and background info, TJ–I keep peering closer, trying to see oranges…am I looking for fruit that isn’t there? Eager for next week, of course–though I think I may have already shared the fudge recipe with orange extract…maybe not. Bon weekend to you–it’s Father’s Day on Sunday here–when do you celebrate?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t say I noticed any fruit either. They must have let things go after they chopped of Louis XVI’s head (poor chap). Father’s day is in September here.


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