While I have to admit that I usually cannot pass up seeing a garden when I travel (case in point: Parc del laberinth d’Horta in Barcelona), there are those that stand out from the rest. An example that I highly recommend on the European Continent (in this case excluding Great Britain and Ireland) are the Gardens of Versailles.
Much like the palace, Louis XIV expanded and renovated the gardens from approximately 1664 for 40 years. While others came up with the ideas and plans, King Louis XIV oversaw and made each decision; he was keen to be hands on with this project. Here is a a history and the general layout of the gardens:
You can access the garden two ways: either through the palace or through the public park. The public park extends from the back of the gardens to almost the A12 road to the west.
The gardens themselves follow a semi-grid system; each of the grids has a different idea or arrangement, many of which include Greek mythology. Scattered throughout are also different bodies of water, many of which contain fountains and put on displays.
Visiting the gardens
One of the major perks of the Gardens of Versailles is that the gardens are free on days except when there are fountain shows. An example of one of the shows is in the picture above.The times and dates of when the fountains put on a show are listed on the official website. These are usually Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the warmer months with additional, individual dates as listed at the link. On these days the gardens are no longer free. However, if you have bought a ticket for the Palace of Versailles, your ticket gives you access to the gardens.
Here are some more photos from around the gardens: