At the heart of the Trianon estate, a new garden has just opened at the Château de Versailles. There are no fountains or neatly trimmed shrubs here, just flowers by the thousands. This is the Perfumer’s Garden, where, as the name suggests, your sense of smell will be awakened!
Created in the heart of the Trianon estate, the Jardin du Parfumeur invites you to discover a wide range of flower essences! We take a closer look at this new garden, made possible thanks to the patronage of Francis Kurkdjian.
A garden in three parts
Around the Orangerie, the Jardin du Parfumeur is divided into three plots with different atmospheres.
The Garden of Curiosities
Arriving at the Jardin du Parfumeur, the Garden of Curiosities is the first area to be discovered. Facing the Orangerie, it immediately awakens the senses. Thousands of flowers in several flowerbeds tickle our nostrils! Entering this garden is like entering a perfume shop.
While certain essences, such as rose or orange blossom, are easily recognizable, others are more atypical, giving off the curious scents of chocolate, banana or even Coca-Cola!
The mystery of mute flowers
There are only a dozen varieties of flower whose fragrance can be extracted: rose, jasmine, magnolia tuberose, narcissus, daffodil, mimosa, cassia, orange blossom, lavender, broom, ylang-ylang and osmanthus.
All the others are “mute” flowers that cannot be used in perfumery, such as hyacinths, peonies and violets. Perfumers have to recompose them artificially.
Under the trees
To the right of the Garden of Curiosities, you can relax in the shade of the flowering cherry trees! A number of Japanese cherry trees bloom here, along with jasmines, lilacs and seringats for a light fragrance.
The secret garden
After crossing the orchard, we come to the Secret Garden, set amid stone walls whose historical function is still unknown.
This is my favorite area of the Jardin du Parfumeur, an intimate, semi-shaded space designed in the style of a Japanese garden, conducive to meditation.
The Trianon estate
Located just a few hundred meters from the château, the Trianon estate was dedicated to the intimacy of the sovereigns. Created under Louis XIV, then developed and embellished under Louis XV and later by Marie-Antoinette, Trianon offered a haven from the hustle and bustle of the court.
I made Versailles for my court, Marly for my friends and Trianon for myself.Louis XIV
Versailles and perfumes
The Perfumer’s Garden is a contemporary creation; it didn’t exist at the time of the Kings of France. However, the estate’s gardens were abundantly planted with fragrant flowers (jasmines, tuberoses, hyacinths…) that bloomed throughout the year.
In the 17th century, the Court developed a passion for perfumes, and perfumers made a name for themselves by creating a variety of products, such as fans, sachets and perfumed gloves, to satisfy the pleasures of the wealthiest families.
In the following century, the hygienist movement and advances in extraction methods made the perfume trade even more fashionable, and brought fame to such perfumers as Jean-Louis Fargeon, Marie-Antoinette’s supplier. As for Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s mistress, she is said to have spent 100,000 livres a year on perfumes!
How do I visit the Jardin du Parfumeur at Versailles?
The Jardin du Parfumeur is open to the public only on guided tours, with reservations required:
- The perfumer’s workshop
- Sensory journey, family workshop
- The gardens of Trianon
A garden created thanks to the patronage of Maison Francis Kurkdjian
After reconstituting a perfume attributed to Marie-Antoinette and creating an olfactory experience in the gardens of Versailles, Maison Francis Kurkdjian continued its involvement with the Château de Versailles with a multi-year sponsorship to bring the Perfumer’s Garden to life.
Versailles Palace, Trianon estate
78000 Versailles, France
Guided tour, €10 per person
Many thanks to Maison Francis Kurkdjian for their invitation to come and discover this garden of a thousand scents, and to the Château’s team of gardeners for their fascinating explanations.
All photographs in this article are the property of Culturez-vous, and may not be used without written permission.