Ecouen castle park
From Oct. 15, 2023 to April 14, 2024
Within 104 hectares of the Écouen forest, an enclosed area of 19 hectares surrounds this castle. A natural barrier between a very urban environment and the Plaine de France, this park offers an endlessly renewed vision of nature over the seasons.
The Château d'Écouen, which now houses the collections of the National Renaissance Museum, is an outstanding monument of the French Renaissance. Built for the Constable Anne de Montmorency by the best artists between 1538 and 1555, it is located on a promontory overlooking the entire plain of France.
A forest adjoins it, crossed by beautiful alleys which were once the scene of many hunts. From the engravings of Androuet Du Cerceau, we know that a garden decorated with sixteen squares and closed was planned at the entrance of the castle. But it seems that the earthworks necessary for its realization have never been done and only a niche at the base of one of the bastions still testifies to this desire. Likewise, a cave adorned with a splendid decoration of plants and animals had been commissioned around 1556 from Bernard Palissy, the most famous ceramist of the time. But the death of the constable in 1567 prevented the project from succeeding and it was for Catherine de Medici at the Tuileries that this cave was completed.
In 1696, the castle became part of the Condé family. Jules Hardouin-Mansart then transforms the landscape by creating an esplanade at the back of the castle on which he installs three flowerbeds with sober geometric designs. These continue in the forest by a long green alley bordered by trees and groves to the South and by a "large green carpet" to the North, like that of Versailles. The forest itself is embellished with new alleys, roundabouts from which other alleys radiate.
In 1805, Napoleon decided to install in the castle the first educational center for young girls of the Legion of Honor. A perimeter wall then closes the domain. In 1810, the Prince of Beauharnais offered his sister, Queen Hortense, protector of the institution, a fountain in the back of the park at the presumed site of an old fountain called Fontaine Madame.
When the museum was installed in this place in 1977, it was decided to restore the estate to its original appearance. If the "carpet" is irremediably truncated following urbanization, the rest of the flowerbeds and paths have been restored. The surrounding wall was pierced with a grid in 1995 to give the perspective desired by Mansart. Only the Fontaine Hortense has not yet been restored, which we hope will not be long!
- Park and garden
- General presentation sheet
- Accessible by stroller
- Public toilets
- Parking nearby
From 15 / 04 to 14 / 10
Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Closed on Tuesdays.
From 15/10 to 14/04 from 8 a.m. to 18 p.m.
Closed on Tuesdays.
Exceptional closings on January 1 and December 25.