It has been overlooked for centuries, but Marie Antoinette’s private garden at the Château de Versailles is finally getting a makeover.

High-angle view of the manicured gardens of Versailles Palace
The manicured gardens of Versailles Palace © PhotoFires/Alamy Stock Photo

The executed French royal's private garden, known as Le Bosquet de la Reine or the Queen’s Grove, is set to be revamped as part a multi-year restoration project. The palace was built in the mid-17th century during the reign of Louis XIV to project the absolute power of the French monarchy, which was then at the height of its glory. It has magnificent landscaped formal gardens that were originally designed by André Le Nôtre, but when Marie Antoinette later resided at Versailles, she hired architect Michel-Barthélemy Hazon to redesign the plot located to the west of the Orangerie as her private sanctuary.

Exterior of the Palace of Versailles and the Orangerie in the gardens of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles and the Orangerie © Dima Moroz/Shutterstock

Marie Antoinette brought in trees, shrubs and flowers from North America for her garden, hoping it would be a sanctuary for herself and her relatives, but the garden became overgrown and uncared for after her death. She was convicted of high treason and executed by guillotine on the Place de la Révolution in October 1793, aged 37. Damage to the grove was also sustained during a major storm in 1999, during which 15,000 trees were uprooted across the estate. A €1.8 million ($1.96 million) restoration project is now underway, and it will include the Virginia tulip tree being introduced to the garden, as it was the late queen's favourite.

Marie Antoinette's personal maison at Versailles
Marie Antoinette's personal maison at Versailles © babypapillon/Budget Travel

The design will be based on Marie Antoinette's vision for the garden, so the original plant species will be reinstated, as will reproductions of the original sculptures and furnishings that were sent to the Louvre or stolen after her death.

You can learn more about Château de Versailles on its website here.

Keep up to date with Lonely Planet's latest travel-related COVID-19 news here.

You might also like:

People around the world are getting all dressed up to take out the bins

Virtually hike the Appalachian Trail using this app

Explore related stories

July 25, 2016: Theater of the Place de la Comédie, the most important square in Montpellier, France; Shutterstock ID 1068936569; full: 65050; gl: Online editorial; netsuite: Montpellier best things to do; your: Claire Naylor


13 of the best things to do in Montpellier, France

Nov 28, 2023 • 11 min read