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Park in Sceaux

2013-09-12

sceaux-1.jpgMajestic entrance through a fancy gate, in front of you castle approaching with each of your steps, large domain of nicely arranged gardens and forest, by the castle an open air coffee place, with beige sunshades, elegant osier chairs, freshly made pancakes and a good coffee, alley with the poster size photograph exhibition, white stone statues, with all of this and even more park in Sceaux is a pleasant noble place for rest or sports. 

From the end of 2012, during couple of months the domain of the park is under the works that should put back the castle gardens to their initial shape of decorative gardens, as they were designed by a renown garden architect Le Nôtre, under the reign of the king Louis Xsceaux-2.jpgIV. – The Sun King. In 2013 we celebrate a 400th anniversary since birth of the garden architect who showed his talent to the world as a creator of the Versailles gardens and the gardens of the Vaux-le-Vicomte castle. From 1670, André Le Nôtre designs the lines of the park, creates the decor around the castle, terrace beds decorated with bushes. Scenery of the initial park was damaged during the Revolution, at the end of the 20-ies of the last century its space got reduced by 20 percent.
 
In 1670, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, a minister of Louis XIV. obtained the Sceaux domain. In the bloom of his functions he had a castle constructed. Colbert lived in Sceaux for 13 years, from 1670 to 1683. When we speak about the Sceaux castle, we have to mention the adjacent architectural jewels in the park: Orangerie (Glasshouse), le Pavillon de l‘Aurore, small castle "Petit Château" and the stables, which used to shelter 40 horses and at present there is a space for artistic exhibitions and the souvenirs shop. The small castle "Le Petit Château", one of the oldest buildings of the domain, was a residence for the guests of Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The building of "Orangsceaux-4.jpgerie" (Glasshouse) was constructed in 1686 for Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the marquis from Seignelay, by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Since the very beginning it served as an art gallery. And also at present it is used for exhibiting the historical statues from the park. Several originals are placed in Orangerie, and in the park you can find their replicas. Often the chamber music concerts are being held here.
 
Historical documents mention the details from the king’s visit, when he was invited on July 16th, 1685 for a grandiose celebration of finishing the construction of the Colbert’s castle in Sceaux. "The king came to Sceaux at around 6 p.m. together with the royal family. He walked on the ground floor of the castle, admired the gardens and stopped for a long sceaux-3.jpgmoment by the building of the summer house Pavillon de l’Aurore. He continued in his walk, was impressed by the water cascade, in front of which he stood for half an hour while the white-dressed gondoliers proposed to guests a sail on the golden gondolas. The king walked through the park, while the court ladies were carried in the seats. The musicians accompanied the procession, hiding behind the palisades. The monarch returned to the castle and went to the southern wing where was the glasshouse. Orangerie was transformed to the concert hall and the king listened to the piece from Lully and Racine, l’Idylle de Sceaux (or Idyl of Peace). After the concert the cousceaux-5.jpgrt company went to the gardens for a fancy dinner, served under the bushes by the lake".
 
The present castle was built at the beginning of the Second Empire, at the place of the castle built by Colbert in the 17th century. Colbert’s castle was destroyed at the beginning of the 19th century. From 1937 it holds a museum of the Parisian region, Ile de France, with the collection of several hundreds of paintings, graphic art, ceramics and furniture representing the history of Ile de France.
 
By the main entrance of the park domain the visitors are welcomed by two impressive animal statues. One representing a unicorn defeating a dragon, laying on its back and the unicorn pierces its jaws by the corn. The second statue shows a duel between a sceaux-6.jpgbandog and a wolf, the bandog attacking the wolf’s throat. Both statues symbolize the Colbert’s virtuousness: a dog is a proof of his loyalty to the king Louis XIV. and the unicorn represents the minister’s correctness. The duels symbolize the victory of the virtuousness. A topic of the animal duels was quite present also in the Versailles gardens of Louis XIV.
 
Large lawns with picnics, ball games, groups of children from the school trips, a forest scattered with joggers, individuals sitting on the benches with books, enlaced fingers of lovers, soft elegance of people walking under numerous chestnut trees, which in the Parisian region suffer from a disease called "mineuse", loosing their leaves too soon and so are the first messengers that the summer is approaching its end and soon we will find ourselves in the autumn nostalgy.
  
M.D.D., Paristep
 

Source of information: http://domaine-de-sceaux.hauts-de-seine.net/  

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Preview of picture in folder Paris gardens | Jan Schinko jr.