The Pavillon Français (map)

The next king, Louis XV, disliked the grandeur of Versailles and preferred the more intimate Trianon. The king’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour , persuaded him to create a “ménagerie” to the east of Trianon’s garden, this was begun by the architect Ange-Jaques Gabriel in the spring of 1749.. The “Nouvelle Ménagerie” was an elegant dairy surrounded by ornamental henhouses, aviaries and cowsheds, which housed a collection of chickens, pigeons and other domestic livestock. The king needed a suitable place to rest and play cards, so Gabriel created the Pavillon Français (1749-50), to the south of the ménagerie. This elegant pavilion was set in the center of a small formal garden.

Madame de Pompadour also encouraged Louis XV’s interest in the science of horticulture and in 1750 Louis XV gave Claude II Richard (1705-84), who Linnaeus described as “the ablest gardener in Europe”, the position of “jardinier-fleuriste du roi” and asked him to create a botanical garden near the ménagerie. This garden, with its immense greenhouses and over four thousand varieties of plants, became a center for botanical research when Bernard de Jussieu, who has been called the “Newton of botany”, was brought here from the Jardins des Plantes in Paris.