André Le Nôtre (12 March 1613 – 15 September 1700) was a landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France. Most notably, he was responsible for the design and construction of the park of the Palace of Versailles, and his work represents the height of the French formal garden style, or jardin à la française.
Prior to working on Versailles, Le Nôtre collaborated with Louis Le Vau and Charles Le Brun on the park at Vaux-le-Vicomte. His other works include the design of gardens and parks at Chantilly, Fontainebleau, Saint-Cloud, and Saint-Germain. His contribution to planning was also significant: at the Tuileries he extended the westward vista, which would later become the avenue of the Champs-Élysées and comprise the Axe historique.
In 1661, Le Nôtre was also working on the gardens at Fontainebleau, and the following year he provided designs for Greenwich Park in London, for Charles II of England. In 1663 he was engaged at Saint-Germain and Saint-Cloud, residence of Philippe d'Orléans, where he would oversee works for may years. Also from 1663, Le Nôtre was engaged at Château de Chantilly, property of the Prince de Condé, where he worked with his nephew Pierre Desgots until the 1680s. From 1664 he was rebuilding the gardens of the Tuileries, at the behest of Colbert, Louis's chief minister, who still hoped the king would remain in Paris. In 1667 Le Nôtre extended the main axis of the gardens westward, creating the avenue which would become the Champs-Elysées. Colbert commissioned Le Nôtre in 1670, to alter the gardens of his own château at Sceaux, which was ongoing until 1683.
In 1670 Le Nôtre conceived a project for the Castello di Racconigi in Italy, and between 1674 and 1698 he remodelled the gardens of Venaria Reale, near Turin. In 1679, he visited Italy. Between 1679 and 1691, he was involved in the planning of the gardens of Château de Meudon for Louvois, another of Louis's ministers. His last royal work was his involvement in the planning of the Château de Marly in 1692.
In 1693, Le Nôtre retired, offering his belles œuvres to the King, although he still provided advice, writing to Germany with instructions for the Charlottenburg Palace and château de Cassel, and to William III of England with plans for Windsor Castle, during the 1690s. Le Nôtre died in Paris in September 1700, at the age of 87. His tomb is in the Église Saint-Roch in Paris.
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