From the jardin à la française (French formal garden) to the landscaped garden
The jardin à la française designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, with its five terraces, ponds and flowerbeds and their English-style broderie inspired by Marly, was never fully completed. The only things from that time still visible today are the staggered rows of lime trees that surround the garden.
The entire central part of the garden was replanted by L.M. Berthault after 1811 in a landscaped style, with shrubs as the dominating feature. At the same time, a ‘grand park’ measuring 700 ha was created in the space between the garden and the forest, which covered almost 5 km of the famous Allée des Beaux-Monts. A green arbour and elegant pavilions complete the ensemble, which to the present day has seen little change.
It was only during the time of the Second Empire in 1859 that the sculptural decoration of the small park was finally completed. However, the park suffered during the war of 1870. Around ten statues were sent to the Louvre, with some of them never returning and being replaced by others. Nevertheless, the lack of a unified decorative scheme and the composite nature of this collection of sculptures correspond rather well to the Second Empire’s taste for eclecticism.
Created in 1820 by Louis-Martin Berthault (1771-1823) in the place of the ‘Bosquet du Roi’ (King’s Grove), the Rose Garden is located close to the temperate greenhouse which was built in the same year on the Porte Chapelle terrace. In the centre of this formal garden, the little circular pool is all that remains of the works carried out by Ange-Jacques Gabriel on Marie Antoinette’s terrace. It was moved to the Rose Garden at the time of its creation.
The garden itself was restored twenty years ago based on records dating back to 1821 and thorough historical research with the aim of respecting the vision of its creator. The rose species presented belong to large families of antique roses, including Damask, Centifolia, Gallica and Noisette roses. These are planted alongside three types of perennial plants: peonies, oriental poppies and irises. During the flowering season, this exceptional arrangement treats visitors to a wide variety of colours and fragrances.
The Rose Garden is open to the public from mid-April to mid-October 2015, from 11.00am to 5.00 pm.
The imperial Palais de Compiègne requested that a stopping point be created between the palace’s terrace and the start of the green lane. In the 18th century, the avenue of lime trees running along the Charles V wall, which is the only remaining section of the town’s walls, was used for the arrival of the king from Paris. Henri Olivier’s piece is in keeping with the landscape and provides a different view of the both the terrace and the green lane. Taking the form of a bench, it is composed of burned and blackened structures and trimmed box trees. Its shape mimics the design of the stairs on one side of the terrace, serving as a reminder or as the reaffirmation and modernisation of an early feature. The design of the piece is also a reminder of the box trees which border the Rose Garden, created by Louis Martin Berthault, the landscaper who produced the garden of the Petit Parc at the beginning of the 19th century. Position sur le Paysage invites those walking through the park and the Palace’s visitors to stop and look around. It is from here that their gaze is drawn by a vertical line through the middle of the green lane to one of the Palace’s old lightning rods, which is planted like a focal point or landmark. Painted gold like the tops of the park’s railings and positioned in the centre of the avenue, this wrought iron mast regains all its strength and responds to the undulating line of the work created by Henri Olivier, the black and green colours of which are a reminder of the dark trunks and transparent foliage of the lime trees.