The Gardens of Château Gaillard in Amboise
The first Renaissance gardens in France, or the Italian ‘Arte del Verde’ by Pacello de Mercoliano.
The idea is to tell the story of the adventure of the rediscovery and the rehabilitation of the first, primitive gardens that foreshadowed the future French formal flower beds as ‘coloured mineral parquets’ by the Benedictine monk Dom Pacello de Mercoliano, landscape architect at King Ferdinand of Aragon’s Palace of Poggia Reale in Naples. At Château Gaillard, Pacello innovated, sculpted, invented and created his ‘Arte del Verde’. He acclimatised France’s first orange trees, created orange tree chests, the limonaia (first orangery), developed hothouse growing and axial perspective… Château Gaillard, standing in a dell 30 metres long and 32 metres high, irrigated by a crystal-clear Gaulish source and the River Amasse, welcomed the King’s gardens and Pacello became the architect of royal gardens for three successive French Renaissance kings, to pass away at the age of 87! Château Gaillard, the first acclimatisation garden and the first gardener’s open-air experimental laboratory, is undoubtedly the missing link between medieval square-bedded gardens and the formal French beds.
After acting as chairman for several luxury goods houses for 25 years, in 2011 Marc Lelandais discovered a mysterious and abandoned 15-hectare royal estate in the heart of the town of Amboise. He undertook a rehabilitation project via self-funded private patronage and a uniquely vast five-year restoration campaign as from 2012. 50 craftworkers, 300 labourers and 10 fine craft trades combined forces to restore the early Renaissance château, the Gardens of the French Renaissance and the royal orangery, its park and forest. Marc Lelandais, an ESSEC graduate in modern history, lived for 5 years in Florence, before engaging in this entrepreneurial patronage focusing on his passion for the aesthetic contributions of France and Italy, to unveil this exceptional historic site. He opened the royal estate of Château Gaillard to the public for the first time in 2016 and developed a new generation start-up in the field of tourism and based on emotion.