This first French style garden sweep along a grand perspective, of almost a mile and a half (3km). This new style in landscaping testifies to FOUQUET and LE NÔTRE's love of innovation.
Creating a setting for the château and outbuildings out of a wild area of around 100 acres (40 hectares), LE NÔTRE and LE VAU created for the first and only time in the seventeenth century, a perfect harmony between architecture and its environment.
The vast area, LE NÔTRE's first masterpiece, is divided up into a sequence of terraces, forming an orderly composition of broderies of box based on motifs from Turkish carpets, bordered flower beds, shrubberies, grottos, lawns, lakes and fountains. If no other garden of the period were to have survived, the Vaux gardens would suffice to illustrate the principles of landscape gardening in the age of elegance.
Set within a huge green space which, from the entrance gate to the furthest statue of Hercules, extends in length to around 5000 feet (1500 meters) and to a sixth of this in width, the château dominates from whatever distance it is seen. Such a "reigning" position over such a large area symbolizes the power of the master of the house. The remarkable use of laws of perspective and optical illusion, also gives the observer the pleasant sensation of being able to 'embrace' the gardens at a glance. This is for the most part, however, an illusion deliberately and skillfully maintained by LE NÔTRE. This the grottos which appear to be just a few minutes walk from the château, rising from the edge of the square lake, recede as they are approached. A few more steps and suddenly the strip of light of the Grand Canal appears from a valley which until now has been invisible, and reality is revealed to the mystified onlooker. The grottos are, in fact, over six hundred feet (200 meters) away on the other side of the canal.
Framing the thoughtfully-planned gardens are deciduous woods, where other enchantments lie in wait for a walk in the leafy shade. Electric cars are available to enable further exploration of a natural environment which LE NÔTRE transformed into a great work of art.
Duration of the tour 1h30 to 2h.
This tour is offered during the opening hours of the chateau, including candlelit Saturdays until 6pm and during the Christmas period. For available dates please contact me.
It is possible to have lunch on site and extend your tour with the visit of the château. A panoramic view of the whole estate is waiting for you from the dome, culminating point of the castle, at 25 meters height.
How to get to Vaux-le-Vicomte château from Paris by car? Route 1: A4 (direction Troyes, Nancy, Melun) – N104 (direction Melun, Montereau-Fault-Yonne) – A5B – EXIT 14 VOISENON Route 2: A6 (direction Metz, Nancy, Melun) – N104 (direction Troyes, Melun, Savigny-le-Temple) A5 (direction Melun, Montereau-Fault-Yonne) – D82 Route 2bis: A4 – N6 (direction Troyes, Melun, Savigny-le-Temple) – A5 (direction Melun, Montereau-Fault-Yonne) – EXIT 14 VOISENON
The Vaux-le-Vicomte château is on 50 minutes driving distance from Paris, 20 minutes from Fontainebleau and 5 minutes from Melun
GPS: search for Maincy then château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. GPS coordinates (Lat x Long): 48.568727000, 2.713580000
How to reach Vaux-le-Vicomte by public transport?