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Hidden treasure: French formal gardens

Destroyed during the inter-war period, the French formal gardens at the Château of Chambord have now been entirely restored, covering roughly 6.5 hectares. After years of study, this incredible initiative has returned the parterres to their former glory.
Chambord once again boasts the splendid French formal gardens commissioned by Louis XIV and completed during the reign of Louis XV. The parterres were destroyed during the inter-war period and buried beneath a lawn, and it took 15 years of study and research to unearth their original design.
Newly planted, the gardens comprise two ornamental parterres bordered by lines of small-leaved lime trees. A series of 400 flowering wild cherry trees separates the two zones. The area covers 6.5 hectares, and to recreate it, the gardening teams had to plant 600 trees, 800 shrubs, 200 rose bushes and 15,250 plants to go around the borders. Although the gardens have been restored to their original layout, the species planted have been modernised to ensure their longevity. This large-scale project was made possible thanks to the patronage of Stephen Schwarzman, a rich American businessman with a strong penchant for French culture and who has already also provided financial support for works in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Louvre.
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