Versailles Gardens and The Cloister

Please, please go see this garden with its adjoining cloister if you go to Paradise Island or Nassau. It a formal garden (you know I love them) with a long central axis, amazing vistas, and grassy terraces (I guess I could leave a little grass at Kilbourne Grove).  The cloister ,(oh, the gorgeous cloister, want one for my back yard ) which is across the street from the garden, looks down on a lacey iron  gazebo and the water with an amazing view of Nassau harbour.

In the Versaille Gardens, statues abound,  ranging from angels, a mother and child, a statue in the center of a lily pond, and even an old sundial in the center of the walkway. Apparently this garden was based on the Versaille garden in France, but it is much more intimate, with a human scale, I could actually imagine having this in my backyard, couldn’t you?

As you enter the garden from the street the long central axis gives you an overview of what is to come.


Mother and Child

Did I forget to mention Franklin Delano Roosevelt and David Livingston, staring each other in the eye for all eternity?

David Livingstone

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

While you are in Versaille, if you turn and look over your shoulder, you will see The Cloister.

Remember me telling you about the A & P heir, who bought Hog or Paradise Island in 1959. One of the items he added to the island was The Cloister.  This is a 14th century monastery, orginally purchased in France, by William Randolph Hearst in the 1920’s. It was dismantled and never rebuilt, until the 1960’s by Huntington Hartford, owner of Paradise Island.

The  intricate Augustinian stone structural ruins,  are an admired tourist (and wedding) attraction. 

I can see why, imagine having your wedding photos taken here, such a gorgeous background.

 The structure allows it’s visitors to walk through it, right to the center,

 where a small garden encircles

a stone figure of a woman.

Each pillar of the stone structure has different carvings adding to the detail of the ruin.

A path leads from The Cloister, to the water where,

a circular gazebo, at the foot of the path, has a leafy design, curving into an arch,  with the sun shining through the top of the gazebo, shadows are created on the stone.

And it was a perfect palce for us to stop and have a picnic lunch, while gazing at the city of Nassau.

A carved table just outside the cloister has this carved in it, (sorry, my photo didn’t turn out, you can see the table in the above picture, but  I had to look up the inscription).

“This monastery was built in the XII-XIII cent. in Montrejau, France by the Augustinian order

It was rebuilt in 1968 by J.J. Castremanne for H. Hartford, Arch. J.L. Volk”

I am in love…


14 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    This is gorgeous and I can see why you love it..the cloister to the gazebo is amazing and I would be there all the time…

  2. 3

    beautiful! I so want to visit this place… I will let you know when I do 🙂

  3. 5

    Jess said,

    It sounds like you have finally turned the full corner to being in the moment where you are living now, and appreciating it for what it is!

  4. 7

    Love the cloister, they always seem to give a feeling of peace and serenity no matter where they are, can understand you wanting one!

  5. 9

    Barbara H. said,

    This is the kind of adult playground for me – beautiful stonework, lovely gardens, water views. Thanks, Deborah.

  6. 11

    That looks like a playful garden, and though it can’t rival Versailles I think it lives fully up to the name! (And I agree about the scale being more human.) Formal gardens can be a lot of fun, especially when dotted with follies like the the tempietto-like gaxebo and the cloisters.

    In theory I dislike it when old structures are removed from their original setting, but I guess the alternative would have been to let it decay and fall apart over time, and the cloister looks happy where it is now. I generally have a thing for cloisters, and that one looks very pretty and suits Paradise Island perfectly!

    • 12

      I do think it is sad when structures are removed, and sometimes moved thousands of miles away, but hopefully it is appreciated here.

      • 13

        It’s appreciated and – importantly – preserved there. That kind of justifies it, I think. Here in Denmark we have several out-doors museums where buildings that had to be torn down have been moved and rebuilt in settings that emulate their original location. (My great-great-great-great grandmother’s childhood home, for instance, was dismantled and moved across the country some 70 years ago to become part of the National Museum’s open air exhibition of Danish rural life.)

        It seems obvious that the cloisters are in great knick, and that in itself is perhaps a really good defence that it should be where it is now.

  7. 14

    […] A Canadian floral blogger posted a piece February 24, 2012 with photos of the gardens and cloister with nice photos for more detailed look of Versailles Gardens and the Cloister. […]

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