Monday, 15 March 2010

Jardin Austère

Last Sunday was a day of crystal clear skies and a bitingly cold wind. Looking out of the window on the train out to Versailles everything looked bleached under the brilliant sunshine, as on a hot summer day.

It was a perfect day to see the gardens. Their naturally austere and rectilinear nature is exaggerated to an extreme state of at this time of year. It is a garden, made of things that we think of as 'nature' - trees, grass, other plants, water. Yet it doesn't really feel like a garden, more like some strange abstract world of planes and lines. A giant minimalist sculpture.

The fountains are off, their pools empty, their sculptures petrified.

The statues are wrapped up in fabric and tied with string, as if Christo had been by.

The unwavering hedges are sparse and brittle - made of twigs and dried curled up brown leaves.

The trees are bare. The plane trees make tree shaped drawings against the sky with their silver barks. The other trees remain neatly cut into long oblongs. Grey and brown, and some, if seen from the right angle, a deep red.

Le Jardin de Versailles
Sunday March 7th 2010

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