Andre Le Notre garden at Chateau Vaux le Vicomte

There is so much grand-scale design going on here that it’s hard to comprehend. The view from the chateau is intended to NOT reveal much of the garden through an optical illusion.

The farther you walk into the garden–the larger it gets! The statue on yonder hill is so far away, it can't be seen in this photo.

Each terrace of the garden going back, is just low enough that an average-height person cannot see the next level down from the vantage point of the “back porch.” You see the first-level garden and a statue way off in the distance on a hill. Once you start walking toward the statue, acres and acres of gardens are revealed until you get to the “grand canal” in a valley which is so low you cannot see it in this photo.

The back yard.

Also, there is a reflecting pool way way in the back (top photo) and, if you stand in just the right place, you can see the perfect reflection of the chateau in its entirety.

Le Nôtre also designed the gardens at Versailles and the Tuileries in Paris, amongst many others. He was a busy guy.

The front yard. Subtle.

Scenes from the 1979 James Bond movie Moonraker (as Hugo Drax’s pad), 2007’s Marie Antoinette and 1998’s The Man in the Iron Mask were shot here. Actress Eva Longoria & basketball star Tony Parker had their wedding reception here.

Favorite thing: Having the garden get larger as you walk through it.

Is there anything you do to fool the eye at your chateau?

Visit Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte

This is a favorite old post, created before I was on Blogger. I repeat it here to save & catalog it on this new site. Sorry if you've read it before.


  1. Be careful for what you wish for....wasn't the owner imprisoned for trying to outdo the King with this garden?

    My eye-fooling-trick involves liquor.

  2. Ha! Eye-fooling liquor! That's the only laugh I've had all day. Thanks.

  3. I got a behind the scenes tour of Disneyland years ago, and learned that the storefronts on Main Street decrease gradually in height to lengthen the perspective as you enter the park.

    I'm sure there are other much sneakier things going on as well, or why would we all wind up with such a crazy collection of souvenirs at the end of the day?

  4. Susan,
    I follow your logic from perspective-cheating to over-purchasing. I would put nothing past Disney, and I would also look to them to have it all figured out. There is no company on earth that is as manipulative and as design savvy as the House of Mouse. Except maybe Le Notre.

  5. Close them. ;)
    This reminded me of the English haha, sunken fence, but on a grander scale, of course.


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