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Chantilly, Chateau de

Few gardens make such spectacular use of tranquil water as Chantilly. A castle was built on a rock in a marshy forest, with the lake serving as a moat. A renaissance garden was made (c 1550) and transformed into the present high baroque garden by Andre le Notre in 1663. Water, aggrandised by design, remains the dramatic and all-pervasive element. The chateau is moated. There are fountains, cascades, a water parterre and basins. The River Nonette becomes a garden canal during its passage through the site. There are ponds in the jardin Anglais, designed by Victor Dubois c1817. Chantilly has been prominent in the history of France, though the present chateau was designed in 1875. Anne duc de Montmorency was born here in 1493; it was the Grand Conde who commissioned le Notre; General Joffre, hating the sight of blood, had his headquaters here during the First World War. Like clockwork, Joffre would lunch at noon, walk in Chantilly's woods, issue orders, perhaps for a general advance on the western front, dine at 7 pm and retire to bed leaving instructions not to be disturbed on any account. The gardens have elan and something of the war memorial about them. [See Gothein History of Garden Art on Chantilly]

Chantilly, Picaardie, France

All year, Daily, Open 10am to 6pm in summer (March to October), Open 10.30am to 5pm in winter

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