There will be a few more reasons to go visit the Château de Versailles after La Cour des Senteurs and Le Jardin des Senteurs open in the spring of 2013, right near the castle in a new urban space officially dedicated to aromas and flavors...
Guerlain and Lenôtre will be present. François de Mazières, the mayor of Versailles, wants to attract the attention of 7 millions of yearly visitors not only to the ancient abode of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, but to the old Versailles as well and in particular to the quartier Saint-Louis. To that effect, an inner courtyard at 8, rue de la Chancellerie is being renovated to harbor the Guerlain and Lenôtre boutiques. The stores will offer not just their usual wares but workshops open to the public as well. Lenôtre said that they would create a pastry exclusive to the place tying in with the perfume theme. Proposing to create a combava and vanilla macaron seems a bit low-key though and like paying lip service to the privilege of representing Versailles' history and French culture to an international public. Guerlain said that they would organize exhibitions.
The press release mentions that there will be a "maison des parfumeurs, place des senteurs, restaurant des senteurs, passage des senteurs and jardin des senteurs."
The courtyard will lead to a garden, the Jardin des Récollets, which will be undergoing a landscape makeover and be planted with aromatic plants.
The rumor mill has it that the Osmothèque was eyeing the spot but instead the city decided to keep an eye on their accounting book and go for a more commercially savvy approach.
Being there for the Osmothèque would have turned them de facto into more of a museum for perfume. It is not certain that their infrastructure could sustain the shock of significant crowds of visitors though.
Versailles City Hall is however quick to point out that their
project is reinforced by the presence within their walls of the ISIPCA perfumery school.
So, the question is whether this will be a prestigious shopping arcade with little variety or a true cultural endeavor, with a sense of responsibility to the place.
You can watch a video explaining the urban planning work here.
Via Le Parisien;