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Join the Académie des Arts de Vivre (AAV) on this private tour of the enchanting late 18th century landscape gardens in the Paris region: Bagatelle, Chantilly, Ermenonville, the Désert de Retz, Rambouillet, Méréville and the Petit Trianon at Versailles.

Discovering the Romantic ‘Jardins Anglais’ of the Ile de France

 

Join the Académie des Arts de Vivre (AAV) on this private tour of the enchanting late 18th century landscape gardens in the Paris region: Bagatelle, Chantilly, Ermenonville, the Désert de Retz, Rambouillet, Méréville and the Petit Trianon at Versailles.

Your specialist guide will lead you on this exploration of French Enlightenment landscapes designed during the halcyon decades preceding the Revolution, explaining why the avant-garde and the nobility rejected the rigid formality, exemplified in Le Nôtre’s gardens at Versailles, and adopted instead the naturalistic style of English Romantic gardens style.

Begin at Ermenonville where you will discover the utopian landscape experiment conducted by the avant-garde Marquis de Girardin. This iconic landscape was not only a garden, but also a model farm and village, and a materialization of the ideals espoused by the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who found his final refuge and resting place here.

Explore Chantilly where in the 1770s a revolutionary style of landscape garden was created by the Prince de Condé in an attempt to rival and outdo Louis XV’s park at Versailles. This new “Romantic” park was laid out as a veritable arcadia of oriental gardens, picturesque hamlets and magnificent rock grottoes, much of which survives today.

Experience the haunting Désert de Retz created by the Baron de Monville on the edge of the royal hunting forest of Marly. This idiosyncratic landscaped park is dotted with architectural follies all designed by this fashionable member of Marie-Antoinette’s circle.

At Versailles visit the Bains d’Apollon and the Petit Trianon, two enchanting naturalistic landscapes that attest to the Queen’s attempts to escape courtly protocol and find a temporary respite from the fraught political atmosphere of the time. Within the town of Versailles itself, discover other small 18th century pavilions and follies that bear witness to the pastoral fantasies of their courtly builders.

At Rambouillet tour the landscape garden with its exquisite late 18th century architectural follies: the shell cottage created by the idealistic Duc de Penthièvre for his daughter-in-law, the Princesse de Lamballe and the exotic dairy, or laîterie, designed in the form of a temple by Hubert Robert for Marie-Antoinette.

Discover Méréville, the most extensive and costly of these new landscape gardens where the royal banker Jean-Joseph de Laborde gave free reign to his friend Hubert Robert. Here the landscape painter transferred his romantic visions from canvas to a natural environment of stone, land, and vegetation to create an earthly paradise.

This bespoke 4-day Itinerary with privileged access includes luxury accommodation and transportation, specialist guide, the assistance of our Académie Hostess, and all reservations, entrance fees and taxes.

The exclusive AAV tour can be customized to meet your interests and requirements. Available all year, through April through October are best for optimal garden conditions. Price upon request.

  • AAV French Enlightenment Gardens Download

Here is the first report back on the tour – thank you for making it so successful: All very well, water on the coach each morning, superb weather, hotel with modern decor and clean and efficient; the visits have been really good with interaction with the owners and some of them real characters and very friendly. AAV in Paris has done us proud. Heather is charming and easy to get along with. Our driver is possibly the best I have ever had. Baie lekker!
Keith Kirsten, South African garden specialist and television celebrity (Johannesburg, South Africa) on his AAV experience

This bespoke 4-day Itinerary with privileged access includes luxury accommodation and transportation, specialist guide, the assistance of our Académie Hostess, and all reservations, entrance fees and taxes.

The exclusive AAV tour can be customized to meet your interests and requirements. Available all year, through April through October are best for optimal garden conditions. Price upon request.