The Palace of Versailles and perfumer Francis Kurkdjian have created an astonishing tribute to the palace’s fragrance-making history by presenting the Perfumer’s Garden.
The Perfumer’s Garden at Versailles
The Perfumer’s Garden on the grounds of the Trianon Estate homes hundreds of perfume-making plants. This ranges from the traditional roses and jasmine to flowers to ones that exude unexpected aromas like chocolate, apple and odorous species. In addition, there are mute flowers like hyacinth, peony and violet, which do not release any extract.
The garden, which is now open to the public, recreates the spirit of the Trianon in the 17th century. And it indeed, enables visitors to learn about the importance of fragrances at the royal court.
The palace preserves perfume tradition through three areas with distinctive identities. “The Garden of Curiosities” in front of the Orangerie gathers the majority of flowering plants and trees. The first flowers around the Orangerie have been planted around its paths and parterres since the summer of 2022, to ensure optimal flowering for the opening of the Garden.
The “Under the Trees” is a walkway lined with Japanese cherry trees blossom. And lastly, “The Secret Garden” proposes an intimate atmosphere. This magnificent natural tableau arranges a perfect way to discover Versailles from a different perspective.
When Louis XIV built Porcelain Trianon built, to be replaced in 1687 by the Grand Trianon, the gardens were filled with strongly scented flowers like jasmine, tuberoses and hyacinths. Their fragrances filled the paths and parterres all around the year.
This passion for flowers and their unique perfumes made Versailles the birthplace of the profession of the perfumer in the 17th century. The court was amazed by the unique fragrances in the gardens. In fact, smelling good became an obsession for both the sovereigns and the courtesans. Artisans supplied them with increasingly sophisticated products like fragrances, sachets, and even perfumed fans and gloves. The tradition continued into the 18th century, till the Revolution and, now, is having a welcome renaissance.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
The Perfumer’s Garden is the result of teamwork between the Trianon gardeners and Maison Francis Kurkdjian. The relationship between the Palace of Versailles and Marc Chaya and Francis Kurkdjian, co-founders of the eponymous Maison, dates back several years and includes in particular the Night Fountains Show, when Francis Kurkdjian curated an olfactory experience in the gardens and the recreation of Marie Antoinette’s perfume, Sillage de la Reine (the Queen’s Wake), based on historical documents.