In Sceaux the chateau and the park are a discovery

parisdiaArchitecture, Art, Flowers and gardens2 Comments

François de Troy’s paintings in the enfilade of rooms in the castle of Sceaux

I had been trying to visit Château de Sceaux for many years but always ended up being there at the wrong time. It only opens at 1 pm while the park opens very early and is incredibly busy with joggers and retired couples who walk energetically with sticks. The occasion of the visit was a small exhibition of photographs (some amateur and some by Atget in 1925) and documents, set in the stables to celebrate the 100 th anniversary of the  acquisition of the property by the department. The park is a splendor with cascades and fountains rehabilitated a few years ago by Patrick Devedjian, the then President of the department. The Petit château hosts from Wednesday to Sunday, a permanent exhibition of paintings given by Pierre Rosenberg for the Musée du Grand Siècle which will open in Saint Cloud in a couple of years. And soon comes the season of cherry trees in full bloom which attracts many Japanese visitors.

Florence Arnaud, “the castle in the snow”, February 10, 2021

At the inauguration, the speeches were political and emphasized the numerical escape games more than the history of the castle which was built by Minister Colbert in 1670 on the site of older castles built under Louis XI and Louis XIII. Colbert ‘s son the Marquis de Seignelay kept the park designed by Le Nôtre and enlarged it to 181 has, with statues by Antoine Coysevox and François Girardon. The Orangerie was built by Mansard in 1686 and is still standing. The King Louis XIV visited Seingely in 1685, and there were royal entertainments in the park with Lully. The property then passed on to Duc du Maine, Louis XIVth illegitimate child with Madame de Montespan, and to Duc de Penthièvre. After it was destroyed during the Revolution, the castle was rebuilt in Louis XIII brick and stone style, by the Duc de Trévise in 1856-1862. It is refurbished and beautifully done up for today’s visitors.

150 cherry trees will flower in the North bosquet at the beginning of April

Atget’s pictures are interesting because he photographed the place in 1925-1927 when the park was mostly a farm. He revealed thanks to his eye the magic of the place and probably helped restore it as it was in the 17 th century.  There are many memorable trees and little monuments in the gardens and if you go around lunch time, you will be able to visit inside the castle.

The cascades designed by Le Nôtre

1923-2023, The Renaissance of Domaine de Sceaux, will include many events on the Grand canal in June. The exhibition of photos in the Stables is until July 9.

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