At Chantilly and Chaalis, flowers and Ingres have a ball

parisdiaArt, Flowers and gardens1 Comment

The clematis “Lavallée” from pépinières Javoy is perfect for pots or small gardens

Since Alexis de Kermel has taken over the management of Abbaye de Chaalis three years ago, things are slowly changing in this medieval site where Primaticcio painted the ceiling of the chapel and Nélie Jacquemart spent her youth with her protector Rose Pamela de Vatry before buying it in 1902, nine years after her husband’s death. On June 9-11, les Journées de la Rose will take place with TV personality and photographer, Nikos Aliagas as host. It is a good occasion to visit the walled rose garden and the house, which is full of spectacular sculptures and little known treasures. In Chantilly nearby, after les Journées des Plantes where rare dogwoods and clematises won the prizes, the main event of the month is the Ingres exhibition curated by Mathieu Deldicque, which opened on June 3. This double bill is a good occasion to spend the week end in l’Oise, a department which is full of castles and abbeys to visit, and much less crowded than Normandy. And the nearby town of Senlis is also full of surprises. 

At Abbaye de Chaalis, the rose garden is historical and on the 9-11 June, a festival of roses is taking place ©Institut de France

It’s always a great pleasure to visit the roses at Chaalis and if you like one in the garden, you can buy it from one of  the numerous exhibitors. Last year, I found some old times furniture at Jardin d’Antan and local miscanthus (or silvergrass) to prevent the weeds. Make sure to visit the house and discover Nélie Jacquemart’s collections as well as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s little museum. Rousseau died and was buried in Ermenonville nearby before being transported to the Pantheon and his tomb, on a little island surrounded by poplar trees, was painted many times.

Léopold Robert, « The day after the earthquake », musée Condé RMN Chantilly

In Chantilly, in parallel with the Ingres exhibition at the Jeu de Paume which I will discuss next week, Baptiste Roelly has prepared for the Cabinet des Dessins, a a very pretty show called “Italy from the 19 th century in the collections of Musée Condé”, which includes a number of uncovered paintings like “Portrait of an Italian” by Blanchard, “La Confidence” by Robert and  “La Mal’aria” by Hébert, an artist whom Nélie Jacquemart knew well from her training at Villa Médicis.

The Italian garden at Potager des Princes

There is also the Potager des Princes, created by Annabel and Yves Bienaimé, a few hundred meters from the castle, and this year it has become a Japanese garden with all kinds of Japanese maples and vegetables and the beautiful wooden Théâtre de la Faisanderie whose season starts on June 30 with “Merteuil“. You can watch a chicken race at 3 pm, admire a giant turtle, or just wander through the ravishing garden with various themes. I was there recently with Kiichi Tanaka, a well known Japanese landscape architect and gardener who was very surprised to find this Japanese decor in Chantilly!

Yves Bienaimé, Kiichi Tanaka  and his wife in the theatre de la Faisanderie

There were many connections in the past between Chantilly and Chaalis and not just the hunts led by the Prince de Condé. Royal visitors would combine the two visits and since they are only fifteen miles apart, and both belong to the Institut de France, they share a same excellence. You can spend a night at Château d’Emenonville which is being refurbished and used to belong to Prince Léon Radziwill. The views are spectacular as it lies between two lakes.

Le Potager des Princes in Chantilly

Ingres, Musée Condé until October 1. Journées de la Rose in Chaalis, 9-11 June. Theater at Potager des Princes all summer.

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