Historical gardens

Patte d’oie – What has a goose and a baroque in common?

One is a popular breeding animal  and the other one is an art type. Have they something in common?  In fact, yes and even a lot.

The baroque garden was a very formal one with straight paths as a part of its layout.

One of most popular designs  of road systems of Baroque style consisted of a central point from which three roads (or paths) radiated. One of these road was a central one and two others, lying symmetrically on sides,  were byroads. All these three roads connected symmetrically in relation to main axis of the palace and very often such layout was used in front of the main entrance (e.g. in Versailles).

The whole layout resembled a pattern of a goose’s paw and was called “patte d’oie”.

Mini French dictionary:

  1. Le patte means a paw
  2. L’oie means a goose

Therefore this kind of road crossing became a name of a goose’s paw, and because it was a style originated in French, its name is patte d’oie.

This motif was used in many famous gardens, among other Versailles or Vaux-le-Vicomte. Up to present time, this layout can be also admired in Parc de Bruxelles, in Belgium.

Below a typical layout of patte d’oie.



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