Did you know that the King's Kitchen Garden, covering 9 hectares, is at the very heart of the historical centre of Versailles, within minutes by foot from the Palace itself and the Pièce d'Eau des Suisses? Don't miss this well-preserved and astonishing location. Its charm will captivate you the moment you cross the surrounding wall, whatever the season.
From marshland to kitchen garden
Louis XIV commissioned Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie to develop a kitchen garden on the site of a swamp known as 'stinking pond'. Construction lasted from 1678 to 1683 and it had to demonstrate ingenuity to overcome the swampy terrain. This explains the use of an underground aqueduct, rubble drains and raised beds. Over time, the kitchen garden has pretty much retained La Quintinie's original design – so you will still find a succession of gardens surrounded by walls and dominated by terraces.
A testing ground
La Quintinie also developed cultivation techniques that enabled him to offer Louis XIV and his court rare fruits and vegetables, including out-of-season produce such as asparagus in January, strawberries in March, figs and even melons. La Quintinie's successors continued his research and developed innovations, enabling exotic plants brought back by travellers to be cultivated here.
Today, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Paysage continues to cultivate some 130 apple varieties and as many pears, a wide range of small red fruits, traditional and heritage vegetables. Some of this produce is on sale in the shop. Most is sold fresh and the rest is turned into preserves and juices. So why not stock up!
Open to the public
The King's Kitchen Garden is open to the public throughout the year at the following times:
January to March: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 am – 6 pm
April to October: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 6 pm (closed 1 May)
November to December: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 am – 6 pm and Saturdays 10 am – 1 pm
See admission prices at the site.
Guided tours are organised from April to October during weekends and public holidays. Guided tours are included in the admission charge at weekends and public holidays. You do not need to reserve these tours unless you are visiting as a group. Meet at the King's Kitchen Garden shop fifteen minutes before the guided tour is scheduled to start. You will then join the guide at the starting point for tours in the garden.