The great Terrace of Le Nôtre

The page presents :

  • A view of a meeting point at the beginning of the great Terrace
  • Games area for children in the park

Book map : D

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The seine seen from the terrace by albert martine (1931 – oil on canvas)

Painter, glassmaker, decorator, great friend of Maurice Denis, Albert Martine is a multifaceted artist. This painting, which was given to the museum by Claire Denis, his goddaughter, shows the Seine in flood, releasing its meanders which appropriate the banks and blur the topography. The reduced palette highlights the wide variety of shapes and volumes that fade into the distance.

Ducastel-Vera museum

SubjectThe great Terrace
LinkClick Here
OriginFrench moments
Revision date22/05/2023

The great terrace of Le Nôtre in Saint-Germain-en-Laye overlooks the Seine River and the western suburbs of Paris. Laid out between 1668 and 1675 near the two castles (Château-Vieux and Château-Neuf), the monumental terrace is 30 metres wide and 2,400 metres long. It’s one of my favourite walking sites for its breathtaking views and great perspective. Well done Le Nôtre!

The landscape compositions created by André Le Nôtre take into account the potential optical effects. Indeed, the terrace shows why André Le Nôtre was a master of perspective. The 2.4 km long terrace was designed with an offset perspective to look much longer than it really is.

On the first third of the terrace’s length (between the Belvedere and the Royal half-moon) Le Nôtre created a cunning slope while leaving the two other thirds flat. To the eye, the slope seems to be situated halfway, so that once you are on the flat part of the terrace the walker thinks he has reached halfway while he has actually only covered one-third.

At the Belvedere an orientation table shows the main landmarks seen from the terrace: the River Seine, the green stretch of Le Vésinet, the business centre of La Défense, Mont-Valérien, the Montparnasse Tower and the Eiffel Tower. On a clear day, the Sacré-Cœur basilica on the hill of Montmartre can be seen in the distance behind La Défense.