The Gardens of the Ïle de France region of France!

On this cold windy and grey glassy morning, and sticking into our coffee house in Vannes, I have decided to be romantic ok, and talk about gardens; we have many beautiful ones and some are well known so I will avoid those. Let me tell you about some not so much known in the region of ïle de France.

Ok, this time will tell you I wrote a bit on them a while back in my blog this is it: https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/5255

I will like up front to tell you about a couple of sites in French that will tell you all about them. First , a general ideas site with many of them here: http://www.idfutees.com/Idees-et-bons-plans/Guides-thematiques/A-la-decouverte-des-jardins-d-Ile-de-France

And this one is an official site on gardens in all of France, I have on just ïle de France here: http://www.parcsetjardins.fr/recherche-geographique.php#resultats

Now , let me tell you my stories on them. Briefly ok, because it can be long stories.

Thoiry. is a castle and open air zoo but it has beautiful gardens of the castle and a great labyrinth ,the English style garden, a flower prairie , a hill of roses, garden of rhododendrons, garden of perfumes and garden of autumn. It’s a bit awkward in going there from Paris, I have been there by car. More here on the gardens: https://thoiry.net/fr/jardins

Thoiry

More noble,the parc du Bois de Préau in Rueil-Malmaison, was a property of Imperatrice  Joséphine and she has a statue there. It is a real English style garden of 17 hectares. It has rare centenary trees like the hazelnut of Byzance or the common charme, the Corsican pine, or the giant sequoia. The Château de Bois-Préau remind us of the time of the Emperor in Sainte Hélène  and the return of his ashes to Paris. it was the last acquisition of Joséphine, where she house her doctor and has many memorable objects. After her death in 1814, many owners went by until purchase in 1920 by the American couple Tuck that eventually did a donation of it in 1926 to the national museums of France to create an annex to the Château de Malmaison. More in English here: http://www.rueil-tourisme.com/en/discover-rueil-malmaison/heritage-culture/parks-and-gardens/park-and-château-bois-preau

Then, I take you to tranquil surrounding of an old abbey. This is the medieval Abbey of Royaumont. There is a garden and a cloister, vegetable garden and a long canal. It is all in 6 hectares with many signs of medieval times.  The Cistercian monks of the 13C were master of the hydraulic canalization to bring the water to the one point in the monastery. Today there are medicinal  plants from the middle ages still there and shape in 1912 into a French style garden with renaissance lawns.  There is a vegetable garden or potager of 160 varieties of vegetables, 3000 plants, and 60 fruit trees! More here in English: https://www.royaumont.com/en/three-gardens-and-a-park

The Arboretum de Chèvreloup, is handle by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle. Here in more than  200 hectares you can discover over  2500 species and varieties of trees with the best collection of western Europe. This is practically attach to Versailles, it was part of the domaine and even king Louis XIV planted trees there; after the French revolution it was split and now is a stand along park, you can reach it on bus 19 from ave de saint cloud and stop at parly II/arboretum. More in French here: http://chevreloup.mnhn.fr/

Since 1766  the students of the veterinary school of Alfort have their own botanical garden and you can visit it in groups to discover toxic plants and medicinal plants ; contact email here: etienne.bacle@vet-alfort.fr .  I have it on the botanical garden webpage in French : https://www.vet-alfort.fr/domaine-d-alfort/jardin-botanique/presentation

The Jardin botanique de Luzarches or botanical and it’s 2500 plants awaits you and do not missed the purple oak dating from the 18C.  The garden is open on weekends. More here in French:  http://www.luzarches.net/le-jardin-botanique.html

The national conservatory of plants of perfumes, medicinal, aromatics and industrials  or  Conservatoire National des Plantes à Parfum, Médicinales, Aromatiques et Industrielles  welcomes you to its greenhouse garden center, botanical garden , agronomic center and interpretation center with a sensorial walk into it’s collections of more than 1500 species , completed with a museographer presentation. Located in an old plant dryer building you will be walk into the history of plants ,their origins and their daily use. This is at Route de Nemours, 91490 Milly-la-foret (Essonne). More here in French: https://www.cnpmai.net/fr/visites-animations-boutique/visite-tourisme-gatinais/

In one of the best medieval towns in the region or even France, that of Provins in Seine-et-Marne 77, you have a beautiful Rosary or Rosarie, where you will see, know, and learn about the old and new roses of our world.  More here in English: http://www.provins.net/en/natural-outings/the-provins-rose-garden.html

If you like Contemporary art, then go to Rentilly or Chamarande you need to go .The cultural park of Rentilly or  Parc culturel de Rentilly ,and it castle offers every year expositions and on the Domaine de Chamarande , the expositions and spectacles, shops on the program  with the opportunity to visit a wonderful garden paysagiste ; located at 38, rue du Commandant Arnoux , 91730 Chamarande.  More in French here: http://chamarande.essonne.fr/categorie/domaine/un-jardin-remarquable/

There is a wonderful garden and beautiful castle, need to be visit more. A magnificent park of 75 hectares with botanical curiosities such as a labyrinth and a playground. The Chateau de  Breteuil was built on a hill overlooking the natural regional park of the valley of the Chevreuse or Parc Naturel Régional de la Vallée de Chevreuse.  There is a French style garden there over 400 years with a lake glass of water,and parterres of ifs trees and nicely cut shrubs while the Castle garden are in the English style on one of the lawns looking at the Chevreuse valley or  Vallée de Chevreuse.  There are massive rhododendrons in flower trees in the Spring, for wonderful bicycle trails in autumn and a promenade that takes you to two lakes with plenty of ducks.  In the vestiges of a plantation dating from the 18C are now terraces Italian style with the oldest the current prince gardens or Jardin des Princes  with a nice collection of plants, trees, and flowers around a vegetable garden  and a pergola covered with roses in spring. In another terrace, you have the  the laberynth with 1000 shrubs or the  labyrinthe aux 1000 buis, opened in 2000, and a current interpretation of the forest lost of the 19C. More castle and gardens in English here: http://www.breteuil.fr/en/gardens/french-garden.html

In the regional natural park of the upper valley of the Chevreuse or the Parc Naturel Régional de la Haute Vallée de Chevreuse, you have the wonderful semi private Castle of Saint-Jean de Beauregard , always sought after for its wonderful gardens.  The Castle has seven courses and the park and garden French style in a perfect square where you find the Chapel, commons areas, stables, vegetable garden , pigeonier , orangerie, freezer, and pigeons cellars , all the element for life in the 17C. The Domain of Saint-Jean de Beauregard is a family owned property inhabited year around with the current owners showcasing their gardens.  Their passion allowed for the creation of the first festival of plants or Fête des Plantes,in 1984 becoming one of the main garden events in France. The pigeon house or pigeonnier of Saint-Jean de Beauregard  is one of the biggest in the region of Ile-de France with 12 meters high and a bending roof , a must on the visit. One of the best vegetable gardens since the 17C, the flower garden here is one of the rare that have survived to our days; it has 2 hectares with flowers, fruits and vegetables rare or hard to find. The walk is very nice and allowed you see wonderful trees and grape green houses , fruit trees etc. Part of the park has been changed into a garden English style early 20C allowing the creation of a lake and new tree species such as oaks, etc. More in English here: http://www.chateaudesaintjeandebeauregard.com/en/

One of the best known rosaries is the one at Hay les Roses or  Roseraie de l’Haÿ les Roses, today more known as the rosary of the Marne valley or Roseraie du Val de Marne. It has the most important collection of old roses in the world! They were made and designed by  Edouard André,a well known gardener of the 19C upon the request of an avid  collector Jules Gravereaux. More in English here: https://roseraie.valdemarne.fr/an-historic-garden

The park of the Champs Castle or the Parc du Château de Champs in Champs-sur-Marne, dept 77 Seine-et-Marne is a wonderful garden with a Castle.  Garden started in 1710 due to Claude Desgots a grand nephew of the master André le Nôtre that followed his principals very well. A big axe with basins and sculptures, a big alley along the wall of the property, lawns in the middle and bordered with trees, parterres and division of small forests with transversal alleys; however, the lawn surface are more and closer to the castle. This is one of the best preserved garden and castle combination in the region, and only 18 km from Paris. More in English here: http://www.chateau-champs-sur-marne.fr/en/

Another one in the good department 77 … we have the Templars commanders garden or the Jardin de la Commanderie des Templiers. It’s  a center of culture and history of the commanderie of Templars with a medieval inspiration in Coulommiers (also another good Brie cheese area AOP) , the garden is composed of square borders of chesnut trees. The plants were chosen and raised taken example of miniatures from the middle ages and old maps of the abbey of Saint-Gall. They are vegetables, aromatic and medicinal plants that today serve to raise funds for the center. This is a great place to visit for the history of the Templars and the gardens, More in French at official historical Templars page here http://www.templiers.org/coulommiers.php

Another wonderful castle and garden in my beloved Seine-et-Marne 77 is the castle of Ferriéres or Château de Ferrières and its old park, former owned by a certain Rothschild.  The park passed by many gardeners and botanical folks until in 1854 an English architect and gardener  Joseph Paxton upon the request of James de Rothschild,gave it the look we see today.  The castle and garden were done again with lakes and streams with bridges done like harbors like the one at the island or Île d’Amour,love island surrounded by trees, lovely indeed.  More in French here: http://www.chateaudeferrieres.com/histoire-du-chateau

At the heart of the departemental domain of the wolves valley or the Domaine départemental de la Vallée aux Loups you can discovered another interesting arboretum with over 500 species of trees on 12 hectares.  This is a park done on the English style with small ornamental construction called factories to surprise all along the walk. It was created by the pharmacist of Napoléon I facing the property of Chateaubriand in the park with many rare trees . In 1890, it changed owner to a gardener who re arranged the arboretum with lakes and suspended bridges as well as kiosks and factories while cultivating the essences of the Americas and Asia today over 100 years old trees  such as China poplar, hairy oak trees , myrsine oak, heavy wood pine and a weeping blue cedar of 680 m2 in diameter that can be look on the lake reflexes. Here do not missed the house of Chateaubriand where he lived and where he writes the first chapters of his memories of the grave or  ‘Mémoires d’Outre-tombe’, with welcome visits, conferences and expositions.  Located at 46 rue de Chateaubriand / avenue Jean Jaures,   Chatenay-Malabry (92 dept Hauts-de-Seine). More in French for the garden,  park ,and house of Chateaubriand with links to each one is here: http://www.hauts-de-seine.fr/cadre-de-vie/patrimoine-vert/les-parcs-et-jardins-du-sud/le-parc-de-la-vallee-aux-loups-chateaubriand/

Moving now into territory of Val d’Oise dept 95 we come to a wonderful garden castle. This is the Château d’Ambleville with a feudal origins, gardens in three terraces inspired from the Villa Gamberaia in Florence, Italy and the portraits of Villa Arthena in Rome. A corner of Italy in the region of Île de France, the sun garden or Jardin du Soleil is a huge chessboard, the moon garden or jardin de la Lune with 6 statues of the times, and the Eyes garden or Jarind de l’Oeil taking you to four rooms of greens, Italy at your feet. More in French here:  http://www.chateauxetjardins.com/menu_jardins/ambl_hist_jard.html

One of my favorites is the gardens in the donjon castle of La Roche Guyon, in the same dept 95 Val d’Oise. This is a French style garden with a vegetable garden or the Jardin Potager du Château de La Roche Guyon . It has four parterres or square lawns divided into 32 triangular parcels with octagonal alleys, a central basin in each square and fruit trees bordering them.  At the time, around 1740, the garden had 675 trees of which  442 pears, 143 apples, some of peach and prunes. After a long period of neglect the garden has had a revival to find its initial vocation of the 18C by the owner  La Rochefoucauld ; a space of production and experimental agro, where seeds and biodiversity are a primary place all around a central garden.  Do not missed the castle and especially the underground cellars famous from WWII. More in French from the city here: http://larocheguyon.fr/decouvrir-roche-guyon/le-chateau/

The castle site is in renovation but keep an eye for it ,it is full of information. http://www.chateaudelarocheguyon.fr/

La Roche Guyon

Another wonderful garden, moat and domain that I love going with my family for their medieval market days is the parc de Villarceaux  with  63 hectares of walks and the mansion or Manoir de Ninon, renaissance style and the high castle or Château du Haut in the Classical style.  Beautiful views, alignments and water basins. The  domaine de Villarceaux (which includes all of the before mentioned)  is a must in the area even if by car is a must to visit; take the A13 direction Rouen to exit/sortir 11 at Mante Est,and follow direction Beauvais and you will begin to see signs for Villarceaux at Chaussy.  You have gorgeous gardens, terraces and water basins all around you and history of course. More in French and a beautiful picture here: http://villarceaux.iledefrance.fr/

Villarceaux

Ok ,hope you have enjoyed this green ride into the first, most beautiful region of France; oh well, there are all beautiful, really ::)  Sprinkle some photos here and more on the blog post. Enjoy your weekend and happy travels. Cheers!

 

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