Adjoined to the ancient royal forest, the National Domain of Saint-Germain-en-Laye offers a journey through the history of the gardens.
A door opened to the forest
Retaining great oaks from the ancient royal forest, the landscaped garden looks like a more tended edge of the forest, a transitional area between the formal garden and the forest itself. It was designed as an intimate garden, landscaped in a natural style, where the vistas open up as one walks along. Nevertheless, the dominance of the strict formal outline of the French Garden is still evident, with the three rectilinear axes, which extend the avenues of Le Nôtre’s garden. This creates an interplay of changing vistas, according to very precise axes and viewing angles. But successive transformations of the garden have substantially modified these perspectives, disrupting the visual process, to the detriment of Le Nôtre’s original plan. Work to restructure and restore some of the groves and avenues, carried out centrally by the gardens department, aims to recreate his unusual visual effect. Two major focal points, from the Allée Dauphine (the Half Moon on the Allée Dauphine and the Belvédère), enable the visitor to enjoy the best views of the English garden.