Gardens Near and Far episode 15 – Courances: Water is omnipresent in Courances, and it structures the landscape. The area’s trees give it a highly romantic character.
The estate stretches over 75 hectares of gardens and 500 hectares of farmland. In the 16th century, the owner Côme Clausse installed a revolutionary hydraulic system there. Whereas many gardens remain turned towards the past, the Courances estate, which is inhabited and open to modernity, is constantly reinventing itself.
Gardens Near and Far episode 15 – Courances
Courance is described, with justice, as ‘one of the lovliest gardens in France’. The moated chateau, some axial lines and a superb entrance avenue of plane trees survive from the seveneenth century layout, which was otherwise dull. The owner was guillotined during the French Revolution. The park was adapted to the English style. The chateau was abandonned for 40 years. Achille Duchene worked on the estate in the years before the First World War and the garden was not so much ‘restored’ as ‘re-created’. Seventeenth century ideas were used in new ways.
Fresh clear water pours from carved heads into rectangular ponds which are alive with enormous carp. Duchene’s high standard of craftsmanship and good design sense remind us that this was a period when large comfortable domestic gardens were being made all over Europe. Despite Courrance’s classical geometry, the garden immediately strikes one as more a charming family home than a classical showplace. In the First World War it was a hospital. In the Second World War, it was occupied by the Germans. Fieldmarshal Montgomery was in residence from 1947 to 1954. The park underwent further restoration after 1948.
Landscape architect Jean-Philippe Teyssier takes us on a discovery of the most beautiful gardens in France and the world. The gardeners, landscapers, horticulturalists, architects, historians and estate managers he meets unveil the art of gardening. They show us how gardens have been designed, planted and maintained over the centuries. The exceptional gardens Jean-Philippe Teyssier visits make up a myriad of passions, journeys, colors and shapes.