Archive for July 19th, 2017

July 19, 2017

Domaine de Villarceaux in the Vexin!

Here is another one, I have written in one of my compost posts and not given a deservently post. This is the Domaine de Villarceaux in the Vexin park of Val d’Oise dept 95 north west of Paris.

The Domaine de Villarceaux, is located in the middle of the park or parc naturel régional du Vexin français along the A15 road direction Rouen from Paris. It is a castle from the 12C 13C eras.  It was part of the defensive line to Paris from Normandy and on the 16C it becames an agriculture area.

By the 17C it houses memorabilia of the love affaires of Louis de Mornay, marquis de Villarceaux, and Ninon de Lenclos. In the 18C Charles-Jean-Baptiste du Tillet, marquis de la Bussière, nephew of the Marquis de Villarceaux, inherits the property. He dismantled it from a feudal look and built the castle we see today.

In 1989, the regional council government of the region of Île-de-France agrees to it’s renovation and maintenance as well as open it to the public.  They signed a leasing bail for 99 years with the Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer. Eventually, it opened to the public in 1990.

It has other elements exteriors such as the tour des condamnés » (or tour Saint-Nicolas) , and the pavillon de Ninon. These common areas form an enclosure with two other smaller towers or tours still visible. One of the them houses the artisans working there. They were completely renovated in the 16C.

The pavillon de Ninon is a building with nice decorations from the 16C and 17C and it’s open in rare occasions and for small groups, you can ask to see it.The Tour Saint Nicolas and the medieval terraces with medicinal plants and is open to visitors. The Parterre sur l’eau are a rare example of the jardin sur l’eau or garden over water.   The miroir de Ninon17C a water space in   mirror because the castle from high up reflects on the water with a nice cascade.

And the Castle high up or château dit   du haut. Done in the 17C , this is the new castle done by the Marquis de la Bussiére. The windows are big with nice views towards the French gardens on the hills of the castle all the way afar. You can see the country side of the Vexin from here too. The Vertugadin from the 18C name from the skirt weared by the women of the times. It gives you a perspective of view from the high terraces to the lake 530 (1749 feet) meters further down!Statues of the 17C and 18C coming from Rome (palace Altieri) and of Côme (Villa d’Este) are all along the promenade.

The  cour d’honneur from the 18C; encircled by the common buildings and the coat of arms of the owner as well as a Chapel dedicated to Saint Antoine (Saint Anthony) and Saint Michel (Saint Michael) . it allows the carriages to arrive on the hills high ground of the castle. There is great view from here too. There are moats on the borders to stop the access without hiding the view like a wall would. The Orangerie 19C with two greenhouses one warm and the other cool to culitivate oranges and exotic fruits . They were conserved in a fridge underground still in the park; and ice was taken from here to mix with the grass and keep for the summer.

Here you have a nice page with a beautiful video of the property text in French:

Contact and info in English from the department 95 Val d’Oise tourist page here:|MoCulturePatrimoine|CulturePatrimoine|ComPlusAlpha||-TT|&tfo[page]=16#.WW-tSsIUnmI

There is a nice market there like in the old days which when we have been here.  These are call the European Days of trades of art, with artisans in the common building showcasing all kinds of old and new trades. As well as a gourmand market later on in the year. More in French here:

A lovely way to spend your day not far from Paris. How to get here:

From Paris porte de la Chapelle by car, get on the A15  direction Rouen which becomes the N14,same road ,continue direction Magny-en-Vexin, exit or sortir at Vernon / Hodent. Continue on the road D86, direction Chaussy. You will then see signs for the castle. In Summer ,like now, there is the Baladobus for 4€, take the regular train from Gare Saint Lazare to Cergy Pontoise and take the bus or take the RER A from several locations in Paris to Cergy-Préfecture and take the bus.  More on the directions here:

And the Parc Naturel Régional du Vexin Français in French with more on the region and transports.

Enjoy the ride and get out of Paris, France has a lot more to offers. Cheers

Villarceaux Villarceaux Villarceaux




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