In Alain Baraton's Versailles, every grove tells a story. As the gardener-in-chief, Baraton lives on its grounds, and since 1982 has devoted his life to the gardens, orchards, and fields that were loved by France's kings and queens as much as the palace itself. His memoir introduces readers to the private side of this living monument, and captures the essence of the connection between gardeners and the earth they tend, no matter how humble or grand. With the charm of a natural storyteller, Baraton weaves his own path as a gardener with the life of the Versailles grounds, giving rich descriptions of this legendary place and the history it has witnessed, but also its quieter life that he feels privileged to know.
The same gardens that hosted the lavish lawn parties of Louis XIV and the momentous meeting between Marie Antoinette and the Cardinal de Rohan remain enchanted places where visitors try to get themselves locked in at night, lovers go looking for secluded hideaways, and elegant grandmothers secretly make cuttings to take back to their own gardens. A tremendous bestseller in France, The Gardener of Versailles proves that the highest goal of a garden, even one as famous as that of Versailles, is to make a personal connection.
About the Author
Alain Baraton is the best-selling author of many books on gardening and the host of weekly gardening programs on French radio and television.
"Charming...Mr. Baraton is delightful when describing his daily routines--he talks to his trees and has pet names for many of them--and as a writer he is a master of what might be termed the inarguable Gallic utterance...but for a hands-on perspective and sheer fun, Mr. Baraton can't be beat." -"Wall Street Journal""What an eccentric and charming memoir... Baraton has been gardening at Versailles for nearly 40 years. He knows every vista, every "bosquet, " every fountain on its 2,100 acres. Baraton's book is sweet and breezy." -"New York Times ""Baraton shares the memories of more than 40 years of living and working in the gardens. He is an engaging raconteur who tells his story with humility and a delightful sense of humor. He chooses his words to convey his passion and his personality. To read them is to have him in the room, where he entertains you without your having to reciprocate. In this case, though, that's cause for regret. I think he would be the sort of house guest one hates to see depart...Whether you enjoy reading of history or gardening or simply take pleasure in the memoir of someone who is passionate about his craft and finds gratification therein, I strongly recommend "The Gardener of Versailles: My Life in the World's Grandest Garden." There is an undeniable sweetness to be found in being in sync with nature and in dancing to the rhythm of the seasons. Baraton tells us that, distilled to its essence, what makes a good gardener is joy. I have a feeling he is a very good gardener. He ranks high on a list of people I'd like to meet - ideally, on his turf."" -Paris Arts Travel ""An exquisite storyteller who works in and lives among the gardens, Baraton immediately engages readers...Baraton has filled his book not only with interesting historical details and human stories of the royals who walked the grounds but with insightful, contemporary tales of wise coworkers and eccentric visitors. Whether he's discussing romantic tourists o
Published: 1st April 2014
Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications
Dimensions (cm): 21.0 x 14.0 x 3.2
Weight (kg): 0.57