Gardens of the French Renaissance  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Gardens of the French Renaissance is a garden style, initially inspired by the Italian Renaissance garden, which evolved later into the grander and more formal Garden à la française during the reign of Louis XIV, by the middle of the 17th century.

In 1495, King Charles VIII and his nobles brought the Renaissance style back to France after their war campaign in Italy. They reached their peak in the gardens of the royal Château de Fontainebleau, the Château de Blois, the Château d'Amboise, and the Château de Chenonceau.

French Renaissance gardens were characterized by symmetrical and geometric planting beds or parterres; plants in pots; paths of gravel and sand; terraces; stairways and ramps; moving water in the form of canals, cascades and monumental fountains, and extensive use of artificial grottoes, labyrinths and statues of mythological figures. They became an extension of the chateaux that they surrounded, and were designed to illustrate the Renaissance ideals of measure and proportion, and to remind viewers of the virtues of Ancient Rome.

Chronology of the French Renaissance Garden

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