Château de Villandry, the gardens!!!

And we went back to the valley of the kings and the wonderful castles of my belle France. We have been to them when even visiting France but has taken me many years to be back; this was as good as any time to do this. We first went to the Château de Villandry and then the Château de Langeais! Let’s continue the tour with several posts,and now the Château de Villandry, the gardens! Hope you enjoy it as we!

Read the previous post on the overall Villandry and its castle. For me and many others the reason to be are the gardens and it shows coming back after an absent of several years. The Château de Villandry gardens are awesome, a must to see!!!

villandry chateau garden d ornements jul21

A bit of history

The French Renaissance gardens are a style of garden originally inspired by those of the Italian Renaissance, which later evolved into the grander and more formal style of the French garden during the reign of Louis XIV, from the middle of the 17C. The gardens of the French Renaissance are characterized by symmetrical and geometric flowerbeds or flowerbeds, potted plants, sand and gravel paths, terraces, stairs and ramps, running waters in the form of canals, waterfalls and monumental fountains, and by the extensive use of artificial caves, labyrinths and statues of mythological figures. Renaissance gardens move from a utilitarian enclosure, all charged with Christian symbolism, to broad perspectives using pagan vocabulary, and whose main goal is the sole delight, pleasure. Aesthetic and personal considerations then become paramount.

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This set will however be transformed into an English garden at the beginning of the 19C. The current gardens of the Château de Villandry are therefore the result of a patient reconstruction carried out between 1908 and 1916 by Joachim Carvallo from the Monasticon Gallicanum and planks and ancient texts by the architect Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, dealing with a Renaissance garden typical of the 16C as he wanted to restore Villandry to its authenticity. This set currently occupies an area of more than six hectares arranged on four levels of terraces.

The upper terrace hosting the Jardin du Soleil, or sun garden constitutes a sort of belvedere overlooking the different sections of the garden. This set respects the general principles of organization of the gardens of Villandry, forming a green cloister made up of three sections. The cloud section develops in small grassy alleys forming triangles that meander through rosebushes and shrubs in blue and white tones. The sun section, central part of the garden, has a sun-shaped basin represented by an eight-pointed star, designed at the time by Joachim Carvallo, as well as beds of perennial plants dominated by yellow-orange. The children’s section is made up of decorative apple trees where outdoor games are located.

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The jardin d’Eau or water garden is none other than the French garden desired by Michel-Ange de Castellane in the middle of the 18C. Surrounded by a cloister of lime trees, this section today consists of green carpet adorned with topiaries whose classic shapes develop around a central pond constituting a veritable water mirror from the Louis XV period.

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An intermediate terrace extending from the living rooms of the Villandry castle accommodates the jardin d’Ornement or ornamental garden or garden of embroidery made up of clipped boxwood and yews in topiary.

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This section consists of four lounges of greenery representing the gardens of love. There are the amour tendre or tender love symbolized by hearts separated by small flames. In the center of the masks that were put on the eyes during the balls allowed all kinds of conversation. The amour passionné or passionate love with hearts broken by passion, engraved in a movement reminiscent of dance and whirlpools of passion. The amour volage or fickle love with its four fans in the angles represents the lightness of feelings. The dominant color in this square is yellow, a symbol of deceived love. And the amour tragique or tragic love with daggers and swords to represent duels caused by romantic rivalry. In summer the flowers are red to symbolize the blood spilled during these fights.

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All above left, center: an easily recognizable design of the Maltese cross. Behind this cross, on the right, that of Languedoc and, on the left, that of the Basque Country. Finally, very stylized, lilies along the moat.

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Between the vegetable garden (potager) and the church (St Etienne) you have the jardin des Simples or herb garden . Traditional middle ages that is totally dedicated to aromatic , condiments, and medicinal herbs. Located at the level of the castle, the potager or decorative vegetable garden in a purely Renaissance style, it consists of nine squares bordered by fruit trees in cords and planted with vegetables in harmoniously arranged colors where, in the spirit of Italian gardens of the 14C, decorative elements, fountains, arbors combine. and squares of flowers, cleverly arranged to distract walkers, thus transforming the utilitarian garden into a pleasure garden is composed by a labyrinth planted with arbours aiming to rise spiritually to its central platform.

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The last section, nicknamed the Forêt or forest, develops in flowered terraces around a greenhouse and a small 18C madness, the Pavilion de l’Audience. Forming one of the sections of the French gardens laid out in the 18C, Michel-Ange de Castellane “gave audience” to the farmers and peasants who worked on his land. Finally, a tennis court on grass!

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The official Château de Villandry: https://www.chateauvillandry.fr/en/

The non profit association of the most beautiful gardens of France on the Château de Villandry: https://www.lesplusbeauxjardinsdefrance.com/les-jardins-du-chateau-de-villandry/

There you go folks a wonderful entry into beautiful Villandry and its castle gardens! All about 3 hrs from our home which can be done in a day!! We got the hang of it and will be back for more castles which we love in natural setting with great food and wines of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you about it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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4 Comments to “Château de Villandry, the gardens!!!”

  1. So beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah the gardens of Villandry! Thank you for this beautiful description supported by photos that allow to figure out the compositions.It is a place to visit several times to see the effect of the changing seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

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