The Making of the French Garden:    The Park and Gardens of the Domaine de Courances – “A Moveable Feast”

March 3 at 12 noon Chicago/1 pm Miami/19h Paris

The Making of the French Garden:   

The Park and Gardens of the Domaine de Courances – “A Moveable Feast”

During the reign of François Ier, Fontainebleau and its surrounding area became very fashionable.  In 1552, Henri II’s secretary of state purchased land 12miles/20 km  west of Fontainebleau where he built the first Château de Courances and laid out a Renaissance water garden with 14 natural springs that now flow into 17 water features. It  also included the second Grand Canal ever excavated in France, which no doubt inspired Le Nôtre’s  use of the Grand Canal in the design of his formal Classical gardens 100 years later. In 1872, a new owner acquired the abandoned estate and hired the father and son team of Henri and Achille Duchêne to restore Courances’ park in the style à la française. Subsequent generations have continued to reinvent the magnificent park and gardens of Courances.

About our speaker:

Valentine de Ganay belongs to the fourth generation of her family to own the Domaine de Courances, and is the founder and manager of “Les Jardins de Courances”, an agricultural venture including a 7-acre/2.8-hectare potager (kitchen garden) adjacent to the domain. She has also converted 1,500 acres/600 hectares of fields to organic and regenerative agriculture. Valentine is the co-editor, co-author and author of the following three books in French: the hardcover Courances (2003, a collection of 30 essays with more than 450 images), the paperback Courances (2011, a book of photographs accompanied by French and English text), and Aristo ? (2013, a book about French society). 

This lecture is pre-recorded and was originally given on June 9, 2021 as part of a series on “Unforgettable Gardens” organized by the Gardens Trust and the Historic Gardens Foundation.

While the lecture is pre-recorded, the Introduction and Question & Answer session at the end of the lecture will be live with Valentine de Ganay.

Support and Save! Become an Alliance Française member for as little as $65 a year for a membership and save on a pass for the series. Register only once and get your pass plus a weekly reminder emailed to you. 

Series of 8 lectures (for members only) $70 


 This program is presented in partnership with the Alliance Française Chicago with communication support from the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA.  the French Heritage Society, the Historic Gardens Foundation, The Garden Conservancy and WICE


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