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Désert de Retz

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Source: Elring

Copyright: CC 3.0

The Désert de Retz is an Anglo-Chinois or French landscape garden - created on the edge of the forêt de Marly in the commune of Chambourcy, in north-central France. It was created at the end of the 18th century by the aristocrat François Racine de Monville on his 40-hectare estate. This was one of a number of landscape gardens created in France at the time influenced by English examples. The architect Boullée was involved in the creation of both Monville's town houses; it is less likely he had anything to do with le Desert de Retz, although Monville did, for a while, engage as assistant to the architect Francois Barbier until 1780. Monville probably designed many of the features and structures himself or had a strong supervisory role.
The garden included between 17 and 20 structures, of which only 10 still survive, mostly referring to classical antiquity. Those buildings included a summer house , in the form of the base of a shattered column from an imaginary gigantic temple, an ice house in the form of an Egyptian pyramid, an obelisk, a colonnaded temple dedicated to Pan, an open-air theatre, a ruined Gothic Chapel and a Chinese pavilion.


Copyright: CC 3.0

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