From our special correspondent
Go from the grove of Hell to that of Heaven; admire some vestiges of the old Tuileries emerging from the greenery, and farther on, fearlessly, the statue of a sphinx; get lost in a plant labyrinth or let your thoughts wander along the Grand Canal …
The 45 hectares of the Champ-de-Bataille gardens in Le Neubourg (1) reserve so many bucolic adventures that it would take the pen of a storyteller from the past to depict their wonders. The modern visitor may not be able to decipher every mythological code or reference to history, but whatever! Let yourself be guided by the lemony scent of an old rose bush, taste the freshness in the shade of a bower or admire the hundreds of varieties of orchids that thrive in greenhouses, this is already a unique experience.
Owned by decorator Jacques Garcia since 1992, the Château de Champ-de-Bataille and its garden have regained their luster, between renovations directly inspired by the past and creations imagined by the owner. This collector, passionate about the splendours of the Ancien Régime, notably reconstructed a French-style parterre from a sketch attributed to Le Nôtre.
Luxury, calm and voluptuousness… All that was missing was the spells of music. And now, in a few days, voices and instruments will animate this prodigal nature. Vincent Dumestre, founder in 1998 of the ensemble Le Poème harmonique – in residence in Normandy – proposed to Jacques Garcia to invest his gardens: sound wanderings, concerts in front of the temple of Léda in the declining sun then a show in the Théâtre de Verdure from that night conquered day …
“All crowned by a gold and silver fireworks display as was customary in the Grand Siècle », Specifies Vincent Dumestre who designed the program of this new festival in homage to Mazarin and the Italian influences which he« imported »in France. ” We will also pass through Spain where the cardinal stayed. Then, during the last concert around Lully, we will further broaden our vision of the world thanks to the notion of exoticism in vogue in the 17th century.e century. Head for Judea, the Canaries and even… China! “
Festive interludes will add their mischievous touch, such as this evocation of harlequinades, also from the peninsula. “Mazarin had brought his Harlequin, continues Vincent Dumestre. Dominique Biancolelli obtained from the king the right to declaim in French, a privileged privilege for an Italian actor… It is therefore time for a mimed and danced concert, in a small clearing where there is a (supposed) bust of Mazarin. “
The allusion made to the cardinal, formidable adviser to young Louis XIV, does not lack spice, when we know that Champ-de-Bataille was built from 1653 by Alexandre de Créquy, a notorious rebel, friend of the powerful Prince of Condé and exiled from the court by… Mazarin. The outcast had a sumptuous castle built, a “little Versailles”. It will undergo many vicissitudes over time: dismemberment, succession of owners – six different people during the XIXe century -, reconversion in prison or hospice …
Now open to visitors, Champ-de-Bataille can be changed almost immediately, according to the desires and treasures unearthed by Jacques Garcia: “Inside and out, you will only find authentic pieces from places, eras and cultures as diverse as ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy or even Rajasthan! This creative freedom can, here and there, disconcert the purist while delighting the lover of fantasy. It finds its echo in the festival, celebration of the baroque spirit, its predilection for the dream, the ephemeral, the strange.