Espalier trees at Le Potager du Roi in Versailles


#1

During a visit to Paris last July, my wife and I had the good fortune to visit the Potager du Roi, or “King’s Vegetable Garden,” in Versailles, which a a short train ride of about a half hour from Paris, France. The Potager was created in the late 1600’s in order to feed King Louis XIV’s court at the Chateau/Palace in Versailles. The Potager is not on the site of the Chateau, but rather it is a few minutes walk into the town. If you like Espalier fruit trees, this is definitely a fabulous place to visit. Entry only costs a few Euros, and our tour group were pretty much the only people in the garden. It was much more relaxed than the crazy crowds at the Chateau. I took lots of pictures of the various Espaliers and thought that I might share a couple with like-minded fruit fans. Some of these espaliered trees are very old, and some are just getting started.

Old pear espalier

Funky new forms

Peach, trained as a fan up against a wall

Row of cordons

Espalier trees are very easy to net

Cherries in a Palmette

The espalier rows surround large vegetable garden blocks

Large pear and apple archway


My First Espalier!
#2

I too have been there a number of times. Two years ago was my last trip to Versailles. The Potager du Roi has been taken over by an independent group as the state wanted only to pay for the up keep of Versailles and not the acreage of the vegetable, fruit and seed gardens. I donated as it is historically important as you saw. It is just beginning to come back now. It has been a mess for years, due to lack of funds they just let it go, period! Overgrown, polluted ponds etc. Quite sad. I was there in the fall and tasted one of the Calville Blanc d’Hiver apples from one of the oldest trees there. The apples were phenomenal. They just happened to have a tasting that day of about twenty varieties of ‘old’ French apples. They were all very good. How can anything taste bad in the shadow of Versailles? The ‘Sun’ King really had it right.


#3

Awesome pics, thanks for sharing.


#4

Apparently, the Potager was originally swampland, and it is the site of the very first “French Drain,” employed to make the swamp plantable. Here is another shot to give a better idea of the expanse of this garden.

One other thing that I loved seeing in the garden was an artichoke bush. I had never seen on before. It looked like a giant, 8 foot tall Scotch Thistle, and it was just covered with bees.


#5

Never been to Europe. I would like to go someday. Maybe once the kids are older.

I watch a lot of Rudy Maxa, Burt Wolf and Rick Steves.

On both sides (mom/dad) we’re mostly German so i should go back home at some point :slight_smile:


#6

A few more pics.


#7

Paully and Mrs. G,

Thanks for the beautiful pics. A picture paints a thousand words.

One day, I shall visit, too. :smile:


#8

Thank you for the pics. Looking at them makes it easy to imagine being there and to dream. Gorgeous. The Potager was more than worth saving and revitalizing.


#9

Yes it is. It is an amazing place and the seeds from the vegetable garden were the very first in the world to be packaged and sold. They are to this day. It is remarkable and on weekends while orchard is fruiting they sell the fruit and during the summer until Oct. they sell the vegetables from seed that was started centuries agol Truly amazing varieties. Mamuang and Muddy would be in heaven. If you want to go let me know, I’m on board!


#10

In my family, the other half does not care about France. If we ever go to Europe, it would any other countries before France. I could escape to France during the trip :smile:


#11

I will miss you!!!


#12

I am such a gardening nerd…I consider the tour of the Potager to be the highlight of our trip! It certainly inspired me to get to work on my backyard espaliers. My wife rolls her eyes every time that she sees a new tree appear in the yard. It happens a lot…

I even brought home a pack of their heirloom French tomato seeds. Still too early for me to start them here in Toronto, but I look forward to them growing in my garden this summer.

French names: Potiron Ecarlate, Andine Cornue, Noire de Crimee.

My rough understanding of the translations: Scarlet Pumpkin, Andes Horn and Black Crimean.


#13

Les tomates sont tres belles et delicieuse. Bonne chance!