A biography of the creator of such spectacular gardens as those at Versailles, Chantilly, and Vaux.
The gardens at Versailles, the most extravagant and influential gardens in European history, emerged from long association of Luis XVI and his master gardener, André Le Nôtre. Born in Paris, the son and grandson of gardeners, Le Nôtre grew up in the Tuileries Gardens and in the nearby royal workshops of his time, particularly for his innovative use of perspective and reflective water surfaces. His services were sought by the rich and powerful, and he moved at ease among them. On a trip to Rome, overwhelmed by Pope Innocent XI's interest in his work, he took him in his arms and kissed him, to the later disbelief of the court back at Versailles.
In this well-documented and poetic portrait, Erik Orsenna recounts André Le Nôtre's life, friendships, and achievements. he describes a deeply creative man, whose savoir-fair and good nature gained him the King's friendship and allowed him to give free reign to his artistic talent. "You're a happy man, Le Nôtre," Louis XIV told him. This book abounds with evidence that this was true.