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When the weather is lovely, drinks and delicate pastries can be purchased from the tearooms, and you can sit on the paved terrasse and contemplate life with a view of the captivating abbey. Château de Breteuil The graceful Château de Breteuil has been in the hands of the same family for over 300 years. The grand house itself dates to the 18th century, and one hundred years later would play host to a secret meeting between the French government and the future King Edward VII. But it’s the gardens of this lovely locale, classified jardins remarquable, which make it an unmissable stop on your tour of the Haute Vallée de Chevreuse. There’s a classic French garden with a miroir d’eau or a reflecting pond lined with white marble statues, a smooth lawn and mosaiced boxwood and topiaries. The Jardin des princes, formerly known as the English garden and renamed in honour of the secret meeting mentioned above, is truly delightful. Behind this walled garden is a cacophony of colour and fragrance - pink and white blossoms herald the beginning of spring, daffodils, tulips and snowdrops surge delicately from the rich soil, and the heady scent of roses assails the senses. Stand under the white cherry trees in full blossom for a wonderful photo or sit on an old stone bench and inhale this romantic, heavenly garden. An entrancing labyrinth entertains both
young and old, and waiting in the centre of the maze is Old Mother Goose. Because there’s more to this château than just history and elegant gardens. For children, it’s pure magic. Charles Perrault was a famous fairy tale author from the 17th century, and a great friend of a long-dead lord of Breteuil, and scenes from eight of his most famous fairy tales can be found all over the outbuildings of the château grounds. Look in on Cinderella in the stables getting dressed for the royal ball, watch out for the murderous Bluebeard, or keep an eye on Sleeping Beauty in her enchanted slumber. And don’t forget to be on your guard when Little Red Riding Hood arrives at her grandmother’s cottage, the fearsome wolf is lurking. There’s a fantastic playground in the grounds, with slides and climbing equipment, and benches in the shade if you want to bring your picnic lunch. The Château de Breteuil is open throughout the year, but the fairy tales only on Sundays and in school holidays. Discover Nature If you love to get out and about in nature, there are hundreds of walking trails criss-crossing the Haute Vallée de Chevreuse, ranging from a few kilometres to an all-day hike.
Chateau du Rivau The Chateau du Riv
Chateau de Chenonceau The white fa
Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau Standing
Royal Fortress of Chinon The royal
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