The last article on the gardens we visited last month in Normandy is bringing you to the extraordinary grounds of Chateau de Canon. The current castle, parks and gardens were all the work of Jean-Baptiste Elie de Beaumont, who did extensive works after winning a fierce legal battle to gain the property in 1768. What is really exceptional is that throughout history nothing really changed, making this place a real time capsule of the 18th century landscape style.
When de Beaumont’s beloved wife died in 1783, he almost never returned to the castle and its grounds, that brought him in deep debts. The property is still in the hands of the same family and luckily for us, they opened the park and gardens to the public. When the park was conceived, the favorite style was changing from a formal French style of garden to the more natural english landscape style. So here they applied both. The part that makes this place outstanding is the so-called Chartreuses, a walled garden complex. I tell you more later on. Let’s first take a stroll in the park.
When you enter the castle grounds you do it in the great French style. A large “cour d’honneur” lined with statues and geometrical architectural features. Behind the castle a large ornamental lake mirrors the castle and brings your eye towards the horizon. The lake is fed by a nearby water source and contains a large amount of fish. These formal forms are in great contrast with the very romantic forested areas surrounding it.
The Laizon river is finding its way through a dense forest and at different places small waterfalls are created. The forest is crisscrossed with canals and follies and a lush green undergrowth makes your journey through the park a bit of a discovery trail.
The follies are a real delight and all survived the past of times. You can bump into the beautiful Chinese pavilion, neo-classical ruins, temples and many statues. Many are adorned with poetry… yes even the pigeon tower. At a certain point you’ll find yourself in front of a large stone wall with a little white door. Here you enter the Chartreuses !
Close the white door behind you and enter a large complex of 10 walled gardens. It almost gives you the feel of being in a big castle without a roof on. In the shelter of its walls the gardeners were able to cultivate magnificent fruits,peaches, pears, apricots, almonds, figs, grapes. In total 850 walls were at their disposal. Nowadays every room is conceived with different perennials. Every year they try new varieties and in one “room” they brought back the original set-up with espalier fruit trees. Don’t miss the white garden in one of the rooms. The main path gives you a beautiful perspective and guides your eye towards Pomone, goddess of the abundance.
At the end of your visit, or even as a break during your visit, you can have a tea of other refreshments on the terrace of the tea-room. Or have a look in the cosy shop or cider cave. Visiting the grounds of chateau de canon was a real delight and very relaxing. Hope you also have the chance to bring them a visit.
Chateau de Canon : Avenue du Chateau – 14270 Mézidon-Canon
Opening Hours : April, May, June and September : daily (except Tuesdays) 02:00pm – 07:00pm / July and August : daily 10:30am – 01:00pm // 02:00pm – 07:00pm