Strictly speaking, parquet refers to mosaics of inlaid veneers on furniture etc and block patterns in flooring made entirely from shapes that have straight edges such as diamonds, triangles, squares and rectangles. If the shapes used have curved or natural forms the craft is referred to as marquetry. The most commonly recognised pattern for Parquet flooring is that of herringbone as seen in the image.
Parquet flooring dates back to the mid 1600s and originated in France, possibly at the palace of Versailles. Often, wood from different species of tree will be used for the effects that can be achieved due to their contrasting colours. Popular species include: oak, cherry, maple, pine and walnut. Originally the tiles were bonded to the floor using hot bitumen which is a tar like substance but these days, cold adhesives are used which, thanks to modern technology are far more effective and make for an extremely stable floor.
Installation of solid wood parquet flooring really is a job best left to the professionals and we really wouldn't recommend it as a DIY project. It is possible to buy engineered panels with the parquet already laid on top of the ply core. In this case, it should be fairly straightforward to install much like any other engineered wood floor so long as all the usual precautions and advice are followed. In any case, a parquet floor, once laid, is a truly beautiful addition to any home and should inspire both awe and envy in your peers.