A walk along the banks of Versailles’ Grand Canal

The Château de Versailles is an iconic, grand and impressive edifice, and its gardens won’t fail to surprise you. Don’t miss the Grand Canal, a natural site, rich in history and just a few steps away from Le Grand Contrôle.

A stunning creation in the open air

During your stay at Le Grand Contrôle, take time to explore the beautiful Château de Versailles gardens. Work on the Grand Canal began in 1668 under the supervision of gardener André Le Nôtre. He transformed the East-West perspective with a long, light-filled stream, which, thanks to an optical illusion, seems to extend into infinity. In 1669, this immense 1670-metre-long canal was finally completed – it would become the perfect backdrop to many memorable royal parties. Louis XIV enjoyed travelling along it in different boats. Some years before its inauguration, the people of Venice sent the King two typical Venetian gondolas with four gondoliers. At the head of the Canal, a group of buildings known as ‘Little Venice’ now house a restaurant. Back then, the Royal Canal of summer would freeze in winter for the Court to enjoy on skates and sledges. For many seasons, the Grand Canal fed the Château de Versailles fountains, which in turn are the centrepiece of the renowned Grand Eaux show.

Exploring Versailles’ Grand Canal

Begin your walk at the Bassin d’Apollon where there is a large statue of the Greek god in his chariot, surrounded by horses. Stroll along Versailles’ Grand Canal, which was built in the shape of a cross with the Peacocks’ Alley and Queen’s Alley to the left. Continuing on foot to the far north, you will find the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, plus the Queen’s Hamlet, a little further away , but no less magical. Continue to wander along the Canal back to the spinneys, separating the Château de Versailles from the rest of the gardens, and you will happen upon some other tucked-away places.

One Grand Canal, many different activities

Whatever the season, you can enjoy Versailles’s Grand Canal during your stay at Le Grand Contrôle. In spring, admire the local flora and fauna. In summer, refresh yourself at the water’s edge. In autumn, watch as the leaves change colour. And in winter, wrap up warm and wander in the fresh air. You can also explore the Canal in a golf buggy – your butler will be delighted to come along and tell you about its history, or climb aboard a boat for two – it will be an unforgettable experience.


At Airelles Château de Versailles, we offer personalised activities to fulfil all your smallest wishes. You will particularly love our gourmet picnic on the banks of the Grand Canal. With a white tablecloth, cool bag and vintage crockery, we have thought everything through for a peaceful break away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Pick a quiet spot and set up your table for a dining extravaganza just as special as one at the Grand Contrôle restaurant. It will include cold savoury snacks as well as a selection of pastries and sweet treats, all designed especially for you by our teams. And last but not least, a bottle of champagne, which you can choose from the wine list before your walk.


Airelles Château de Versailles can also arrange horse rides all year round – a traditional way of exploring the beauty of the Grand Canal and Versailles Gardens.

Something else you would like? Your butler is on hand to help arrange your stay. Don’t hesitate to tell him about your smallest whims, our teams are always happy to arrange a tailormade experience.



For more information, do not hesitate to contact our butlers: