Garden of Love at Château de Villandry: Most Romantic Gardens in France [40 PICS]

February 17th, 2012 Permalink

While researching castles built for love, we stumbled upon another castle located in Villandry, France. But it was the magnificent gardens that were built for love — and even the French name jardin de l’amour sounds divinely romantic. While these gardens have serene elements like Chinese gardens, the Château de Villandry gardens have been called the most romantic and beautiful gardens in France. There is a love story behind Love Garden and the entire estate was designed with romantic symbolism from the Renaissance era. The Villandry has three garden styles, a formal water garden, a 2-part ornamental garden with topiary hedges ripe with symbolism for love including for the “Garden of Love” and the “Garden of Music,” and a huge decorative kitchen garden (potager). The gardens of Château de Villandry are an UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’d never seen anything like it. Welcome to the most romantic gardens in Loire Valley, France! [40 Photos]

Jardin d'amour - jardin de 'l'amour tendre' Garden of Love -- Tender Love

Jardin d’amour – jardin de “l’amour tendre”. Garden of Love — Tender Love. Château de Villandry has a great love story to go along with the breathtaking Renaissance gardens that embody romance. A young Spanish doctor, Joachim Carvallo, met and fell in love with a young American medical research intern, Ann Coleman. She was the daughter of a master blacksmith from Pennsylvania. They sunk all of their money into the castle of Villandry and worked tirelessly on their passion of restoring it. They converted part of the estate into a hospital to take care of the wounded during WWI, but after the war, went back to their passion of transforming the romantic park at Chateau de Villandry, originally created by Jean Le Breton, into a stunning design of romantic gardens that still exist today. Photo #1 by hamadryades

Gardens of the Chateau de Villandry -- France from above

Gardens of the Chateau de Villandry — France from above. These are considered perhaps the most romantic gardens in the world. There are three garden styles, the farthest away is the formal water garden, the 2-part ornamental garden has topiary hedges ripe with symbolism for love including for the “Garden of Love” and the “Garden of Music.” The third type of garden at Chateau de Villandry is a decorative kitchen garden. Photo #2 by Yann Arthus-Bertrand via wallcoo


gorgeous gardens of Chateau de Villandry

Gorgeous Renaissance Garden of Love at Chateau de Villandry is composed of four aspects of love: Tender Love, Passionate Love, Fickle Love and Tragic Love. Photo #3 by Charlotte Powell

Renaissance Tender Love gardens of Villandry

Hearts — Tender Love — Garden of Love Villandry. The official Château & jardins de Villandry site states, “Tender Love is symbolized by hearts separated by the flames of love in the corners. In the centre are the domino masks are situated in the centre. They were worn at balls which allowed all types of conversations, from the most serious to the most frivolous.” Photo #4 by Château & jardins de Villandry

Passionate Love is also represented by the same hearts but this time, they are broken by passion. The box hedges are criss-crossed and form a maze, which also constitutes an evocation of dance

This quadrant is called Passionate Love and is also represented by the same hearts, however they are broken apart by passion this time. These boxed hedges criss-cross to form a maze which is supposed to represent “an evocation of dance.” Photo #5 by Château & jardins de Villandry

Renaissance Villandry Garden of Love -- Fickle Love quadrant

French Gardening breaks this down for us to understand. “Within the Renaissance rhetoric, it’s all downhill after Passion. In the next quadrant, ‘Fickle Love,’ the elements are more fragmented. That’s because after Passion, things get more complicated. The four fans in the corners of the quadrant symbolise the volatile nature of feelings. Between the volatile fans appear the horns of the jilted lover. And just who was the fickle one? Ladies, remember this was the Renaissance. In the center of this quadrant are the secret love letters or billets doux which the fickle lady sent to her (new) lover. Even the yellow of the plantings is symbolic: the color of jilted love.” The official site explains The Love Garden Fickle Love as: “The four fans in the corners symbolize the volatile natureof feelings. The horns of the jilted lover are situated between these fans and the love letters or « billets doux » that the fickle lady sent to her lover are in the centre. The dominant colour in this square is yellow, the colour of jilted love.” Photo #6 by Château & jardins de Villandry

Incredible gardens of the château de Villandry

Incredible gardens of the Château de Villandry. In the center of the photo, we see the garden quadrant that represents Tragic Love defined as “the design represents the blades of daggers and swords used during the duels that were provoked by lovers’ rivalry. In summer, flowers are red to symbolize the blood spilt during these fights. It is an evocation of Tragic Love.” French Gardening explains, “During the Renaissance, infidelity could only come to a bad end (still true?). In the final quadrangle, ‘Tragic Love,’ the voluptuous and serene forms of ‘Tender Love’ have devolved into a disarray of jagged shapes representing the sharp daggers and swords wielded by rivalrous lovers. The flowers within the parterres are red, to symbolize the blood spilled in these duels to the death.” Photo #7 by Calips

Jardin Francais - French gardens, in Villandry

Jardin Francais – French gardens, in Villandry. The photographer also noted, “A great example of old school amazing French Gardens – 8 full time gardeners to maintain the gardens in Villandry!” This is the area with the topiary crosses, the Maltese cross, the Languedoc cross and the Basque cross. Photo #8 by Matthieu Aubry.

Gorgeous Château de Villandry

Gorgeous Château de Villandry. The photographer wrote, “One of the castles of the Loire Valley in France. The de Villandry is known among other things for its spectacular and well kept gardens.” Photo #9 by Leandre – Castellfollit Roca (Girona)

Topiaries at the château de Villandry gardens

Topiaries at the Château de Villandry gardens. Photo #10 by Francisco Antunes

castle and gardens at Château de Villandry

Château de Villandry – castle and gardens. Photo #11 by Jean-Christophe BENOIST

Chateau de Villandry gardens, Loire valley, France

Chateau de Villandry gardens, Loire valley, France. Close up details of Fickle Love in the Garden of Love. Photo #12 by Howard Stanbury

Views of the gardens of the Château de Villandry

Views of the gardens of the Château de Villandry. At the upper left where you see shades of lavender is The Music Garden. The lowest level seen in upper middle is the kitchen garden, known as Le Potager, and is perhaps the most famous of the Château de Villandry gardens. The lower middle is The Garden of Love. Photo #13 by sybarite48

Château de Villandry Gardens Loire Valley

Jardins style Renaissance: Château de Villandry Gardens — Loire Valley. FranceMonthly calls these the most beautiful gardens in France. “A true spectacle greets garden lovers: canals cut through the gardens, terraces cascade down many levels, and the variety of colors from hundreds of species of plants and flowers are a visual delight. However, the visitor will find that these gardens truly owe their harmony to the great and soothing simplicity of their design. Doctor Carvallo was inspired by the gardens of the Renaissance but did not select any one given model….he drew up each one of his gardens separately as so many courtyards arranged one next to the other. He started off by cutting down the trees from the original romantic park, clearing out the moats and taking over the general shape of the terraces and the great pond for his design. The new gardens were then set up on this basis. He chose mainly annuals for the lower plants since, of course, they require permanent ongoing care. The water garden was assigned to the highest parcel where it was laid out as a vast lake that also supplied water to the fountains, canals and gardens simply by following the principle of free flow.” Photo #14 by Geof Wilson

Château de Villandry Gardens a UNESCO World Heritage

The photographer wrote, “The amazing gardens at the Château de Villandry in the Loire Valley in France. Apparently it is now a UNESCO world heritage site.” Photo #15 by Richard Parmiter

West view of the Château de Villandry and its French gardens

West view of the Château de Villandry and its French gardens. The Château de Villandry ornamental gardens (Le Jardin d’Ornement), the second level of gardens, consist of four fabulous gardens: The Garden of Music, The Decorative Flower Garden, The Garden of Love, and The Garden of Simple Delights. Photo #16 by Pierre Mairé

Chateau Villandry, potager

Chateau Villandry, potager (the kitchen garden) for which Villandry was first famous. It covers three acres and requires nine gardeners to oversee the care and replacement of more than 40 types of vegetables in order to preserve the perfect harmony of color during all growing seasons. The vegetables grown are supposed to be only those used in the 16th century. Photo #17 by Manfred Heyde

Renaissance Villandry water garden

The Villandry Water Garden (Le Jardin d’Eau) is located above the ornamental gardens. These serene ponds of water are surrounded by perfectly manicured lawns and splashing fountains. It is designed much like the water gardens of Versailles. In the center is round a large lake in the shape of a Louis XV mirror. Photo #18 by Paul Kentish

Villandry castle gardens

Villandry castle gardens south-eastern aspect. Photo #19 by Guillaume Baviere

French formal garden of the 'Chateau de Villandry' in the Loire Valley

French formal garden of the Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley. This shot is of the Villandry Music Garden. Photo #20 by Daderot

Chateau de Villandry garden Autostitch

Autostitch of Chateau de Villandry garden: Top left quadrant represents Tender Love. At top right is Passionate Love. Bottom right is Fickle Love and bottom left is Tragic Love. The photographer said, “A crop of a composite picture from 25 pictures taken with a 75mm setting on 70-210 zoom lens.” Photo #21 by Howard Stanbury

Chateau de Villandry geometric gardens -- crosses -- winter scene

Château de Villandry geometric gardens, winter scene of the topiary crosses. Photo #22 by Château & jardins de Villandry

Vegetable garden at the château de Villandry

According to FranceMonthly, the history behind the vegetable garden at the Château de Villandry: “Doctor Carvallo had created a vegetable garden during WWI to feed his hospitalized patients. This was his favorite garden, laid out over 9 completely different squares with a clever mix of 250,000 vegetable and flower plants that have only a decorative purpose today, but one of very high design.” Photo #23 by Peter Dutton

The château de Villandry vegetable garden

During Autumn, the cabbages are a bright crimson and the pumpkins a bright orange. No matter the season, the 108,000 square feet of multicolored, ever-changing, checkerboard gardens are spectacular art. The lattice gazebos add romantic vibes as they were added purely for pleasure and serve as symbolism for romantic love. There is even an herb garden between the decorative kitchen garden and the Church, with 30 herb varieties that were considered beneficial plants during the Middle Ages. Photo #24 by Peter Dutton

Villandry -- world's most organized vegetable garden

Villandry: The photographer wrote, “This is the vegetable garden – the world’s most organized vegetable garden, I’m sure.” Photo #25 by Joe Shlabotnik

The Garden of Love at the Loire Valley Chateau of Villandry, France, is the sexiest use of boxwood you may ever find

The photographer noted, “The Garden of Love at the Loire Valley Chateau of Villandry, France, is the sexiest use of boxwood you may ever find.” Photo #26 by ©Jim/ArtofGardening.org

Château de Villandry in the Loire Valley in France

Canal through the Villandry French formal gardens. Photo #27 by apeofjungle

Villandry Garden

Our beloved 96-year-old grandmother / great grandmother recently passed away and she loved gardens. We were debating if such a garden scene as at the Villandry might be seen in heaven. This post is part of tribute to Grandma and this was a poem read during her funeral. If Roses Grow in Heaven: If roses grow in Heaven Lord, Please pick a bunch for me. Place them in my Grandma’s arms, and tell her they’re from me. Tell her I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile, Place a kiss upon her cheek, and hold her for a while. Because remembering her is easy, I do it everyday, But there is an ache within my heart, That will never go away. (by Anon) Photo #28 by Francisco Antunes

Formal garden at Villandry

Each room of the Villandry castle enjoys a unique view of these breathtaking gardens. Photo #29 by Casper Moller

Villandry gardens - detail

Villandry gardens – detail of Tragic Love. Photo #30 by Howard Stanbury

More details of the spectacular Villandry gardens

Up close and personal details of Fickle Love in Garden of Love. FranceMonthly said of The Love Garden: “Doctor Carvallo, with the help of two fellow Spanish men, designed the garden to be the centerpiece of his work. Each clump evokes one of the following four feelings of love: tender love with hearts and masks formed by edges of boxwood, passionate love with bleeding hearts, fickle love with clumps shaped like horns and fans, and tragic love with knife blades. Inside each clump, the specific choice of both the flowers and their individual colors was intended to emphasize the power of the feeling of love in question. Orange was for tenderness, red for tragedy, yellow for adultery. Much to our delight, the geometric ensemble is perfectly completed by two fountains marking the intersection of the paths. Further on down, flower beds traced like embroidery pick up the patterns of the Maltese Cross, as well as those of the Basque Country and the Languedoc region. The Love Garden actually spreads out to the south to counter the perspective effect. So when you look at the garden from the castle, the two paths will seem to run parallel to each other when in fact they do not, no doubt the only deliberate symmetry “flaw” in the Villandry gardens! This is why the gardens only really come into their own from a view that towers over them, and the very reason why they are so unique. They must first be visited from the vantage point of the castle.” Photo #31 by Howard Stanbury

Strolling through Château de Villandry

Strolling through Château de Villandry. Photo #32 by Charlotte Powell

heart at garden of love -- Villandry

Concrete heart at the Garden of Love peeking through at Villandry decorative kitchen garden. Photo #33 by Alyse & Remi

Fickle Love, Villandry Les jardins du château

‘Fickle Love’ — Les jardins du Château. Photo #34 by Guillaume Baviere

Chateau Villandry the love garden -- geometric garden of crosses -- Maltese Cross, Languedoc cross, Basque cross, Fleur-de-lis lily symbol

Chateau Villandry the love garden — geometric garden of crosses — Maltese Cross, Languedoc cross, Basque cross, Fleur-de-lis lily symbol. Photo #35 by Château & jardins de Villandry

In the castle gardens -- Villandry

As beautiful as this garden is, we know the gardens in heaven are even better. With that thought, here is another tribute poem to Grandma: God’s Garden: God looked around his garden, And found an empty place, He then looked down upon the earth, And saw your tired face. He put his arms around you, And lifted you to rest. God’s garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best. He knew that you were suffering, He knew you were in pain. He knew that you would never, Get well on earth again. He saw the road was getting rough, And the hills were hard to climb. So he closed your weary eyelids, And whispered, “Peace be thine.” It broke our hearts to lose you, But you didn’t go alone, For part of us went with you, The day God called you home. (by Anon) Photo #36 by Guillaume Baviere

Passionate Love Garden, Château vue sur le jardin d'Amour

Passionate Love Garden — Château, vue sur le jardin d’Amour. Photo #37 by gaetanku

France -- Villandry -- Garden built by love

France — Villandry — Garden built by love. Photo #38 by Guillaume Baviere

The Love Garden and canals of Chateau de Villandry castle - garden built for love

The Love Garden and canals of Chateau de Villandry. Not the castle built by love but a garden built for love. Photo #39 by Château & jardins de Villandry

Les Nuits des Mille Feux 2000 candles light up the Château and gardens

In July there is an even more romantic reason to stroll through the Villandry due to Les Nuits des Mille Feux, meaning The Night of a Thousand Lights. 2,000 candles put out a romantic glow over the Château and gardens from sundown until after midnight. It’s not only a visual delight but audio as well since musicians playing Baroque music walk through the gardens. If you are inteested, the virtual Château de Villandry tour is very cool. Photo #40 by gwgs


Although we started this before Valentine’s Day to be ready for Valentine’s Day, we only had it partially completed. Instead we ended up spending that day at Grandma’s visitation and funeral. This turned into a sort of tribute to a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother, age 96, who taught us to love simple things the best. To see the beauty in nature, to love picnics and fireworks and so much more. She was my biggest cheerleader in life. When I was little, I thought Grandma’s birthdaywas the whole reason there were firework celebrations on the Fourth of July.


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