Virtual tour of the gardens

The Ornamental Garden – First Salon

Located on the single terrace that leads directly to the ground floor of the château, the Ornamental Garden is designed as an open-air salon and the immediate extension of the salons inside the residence. Its motifs are a flamboyant marriage of 16th century French parterres, an Andalusian soul and Islamic gardens. The garden, which evokes the spirit of a reinterpreted Renaissance, accentuates the Renaissance character of the château’s façade.

Parterre de l'Amour,  jardin d'Ornement premier salon, planté de bégonias rouges et blancs

The motifs of the parterres of the Crosses and of Love are made with boxwood and flowers that are renewed each season.

You can see in this parterre the "Villandry" topiaries.

The higher you go up the floors, the better you can admire the design of the flowerbeds.

The flowerbeds of Love and of the Crosses seen from the sky: Tender Love, Passionate Love, Flighty Love, Tragic Love ; the Maltese Cross, the Cross of Languedoc, the Basque Cross.


On the intermediate terrace located on the same level as the château, 3 gardens have been created: the Ornamental Garden – First Salon, the Ornamental Garden – Second Salon and the Herb Garden. Joachim Carvallo regards them as “a space that continues the architecture of the château”; they are rooms of the château in their own right, just like the salon, study or dining room. Each garden on the intermediate terrace is therefore like an open-air salon that can be accessed through the façade and leads directly to the garden.

The Ornamental Garden – First Salon or the art of marrying French influences with mudejar

The Ornamental Garden – First Salon is one of Villandry’s iconic gardens. It is a long parterre bordered by the 3 main avenues, which pre-dated Joachim Carvallo’s purchase of Villandry, and which the new owner had to work when drawing up his plan. To transform the 19th century parterre into a one that harmonises with the Renaissance style of the château’s architecture, Joachim achieved the feat of cleverly mixing 16th century French tradition with the so-called “Mudejar” style, itself a marriage of Andalusian and Moorish cultures. To bring his plans to fruition, he called on Lozano, a painter from Sevilla, assisted by the Spanish painter and landscaper Javier de Winthuysen. A Frenchman by adoption, Joachim was fond of his Spanish roots and liked the idea that the Spanish spirit could be expressed at Villandry, in both the gardens and château, through his extraordinary collection of paintings, for example. He would say that the Spanish spirit is “always the same, real and positive, as close to nature and life as art can be, and yet always noble and transcendent”.
Architecture, painting, botany, fountain design, French, Andalusian and Moorish culture – the design of the Ornamental Gardens reminds us that the art of the garden is a multidisciplinary one and a meeting of stylistic influences.
Viewed from the sky, the decorative planting of the Ornamental Garden gives the impression of a dazzling Persian carpet with elegant motifs structured around two themes: love and crosses.
In the summer season, the citrus trees in their wooden planters are brought out of the troglodytic Orangery that runs along the parterre. Their presence completes the Mediterranean atmosphere of the place.

The Love Garden

Closest to the château is the Love Garden. Initially, it consisted of 6 squares, as shown in the initial plans by Joachim Carvallo, who must have felt some remorse in retrospect. We can assume that he thought it more sensible to extend the perspective, which can thus cross the avenue connecting the first and second Ornamental salons. As such, two squares were divided in half and today only four squares are complete. This correction, voluntarily or not, restores the perspective created in the 18th century when the gardens were “in the French style”, as it pleased the Marquis of Castellane at the time.

Each square is an interlacing pattern that represents a type of love. Unlike the Ornamental Kitchen Garden, the patterns are made up of broken curves rather than lines.
Tender Love is symbolised by the hearts separated by flames of love in the corners of the square. At the centre are masks which were worn at balls to conceal the face, enabling their wearers to engage in all sorts of conversation, from the most serious to the most light-hearted.
Passionate Love: Still hearts, but this time they are broken out of passion. The clumps of box are entangled to form a maze, further evoking the dance and whirlwind of passion.
Flighty Love: The four fans in the corners symbolise the fickleness of the sentiments. Between the fans are the horns representing betrayed love and, in the centre, the love letters and sweet notes exchanged by lovers. The predominant colour in this square is yellow, the symbol of betrayed love.
Lastly, Tragic Love: The designs represent the blades of daggers and swords used in duels caused by amorous rivalry. In summer, the flowers are red to symbolise the blood shed in these combats.

The Garden of the Crosses

On the left, in the centre: a design easily recognisable as the Maltese Cross. Behind this cross, to the right, is the Cross of Languedoc and, to the left, the Basque Cross. Lastly are the highly stylised fleur-de-lys lining the moat.
For a good view of the whole, it is best to go up to the belvedere, from where one looks down over all of these gardens.

Botanical composition of the Ornamental Garden – First Salon

The patterns of the beds are formed from box.
The colour scheme changes twice a year. In spring, the tulip and the myosotis fill the interlacing patterns, replaced in summer by the begonias.
Spring: 2,800 tulip bulbs and 2,800 myosotis
Summer: more than 22,000 red, yellow and white begonia seedlings in total
Yew (topiary)
Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Parterre de l'Amour,  jardin d'Ornement premier salon, planté de tulipes au Printemps
Parterre de l'Amour,  jardin d'Ornement premier salon, planté de bégonias rouges et blancs
Parterre de l'Amour,  jardin d'Ornement premier salon, planté de bégonias rouges et blancs