Interview with Yves Bienaimé, designer of the Potager des Princes

Interview with Yves Bienaimé, designer of the Potager des Princes

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In the historic park of the Faisanderie du Grand Condé, designed by Le Nôtre then transformed and gradually abandoned, Yves Bienaimé created the Potager des Princes, a veritable symphony of 25 gardens in the heart of the city of Chantilly. This group, classified as a "remarkable garden", today hosts various wooded and flowered spaces, a vegetable garden in the 18th century fashion, but also water games, a theater, trellises as well as an animal park. Both a green lung in an urban environment and a leisure park focused on nature, the Potager des Princes immerses visitors in the heart of the history of France. Its manager Yves Bienaimé agreed to answer our questions about these enchanting gardens which he has completely redesigned, and which he takes care of with passion every day.

The Potager des Princes is one of the last vestiges of the Parc des Princes de Condé… Tell us its story!

Le Potager des Princes is located on the site of the old pheasantry dating from the 17th century, belonging to the Princes of Condé who went there by boat to come and admire their pheasants. The entrance to the park was entirely created by the architect Le Nôtre, who had imagined a beautiful set of terraces and pools. The site will undergo several transformations over the centuries, becoming in turn a Roman pavilion, a rustic hamlet (which will inspire Marie-Antoinette for Versailles), then a veterinary clinic. I finally bought the park in 2000, to rehabilitate it and be able to share this heritage treasure with the public.

You are a major player in the city of Chantilly, are you a native?

Absolutely not ! At the start, I was a simple squire teacher who fell in love with the great stables of Chantilly in the 1960s. I created the horse museum there - without any state subsidy - and I fell in love with the city over the years. years. What we called Potager des Princes was then a large, almost neglected piece of land adjoining the museum. I first created the different gardens as well as the vegetable patch, without relying on the original plans, before devoting myself to the different leisure spaces that the park has. However, all the facilities have been designed to convey the soul of the place as closely as possible, without ever distorting it.

How is the Parc du Potager des Princes structured today?

In addition to the gardens and the vegetable patch, there is a dwarf farmyard that I entirely imagined, a reception room, a clearing for games and a theater on the water. The city of Chantilly had not had a theater for a long time, and it was important to me to revive this traditional leisure of the 17th century. Along the walk, we discover an exotic garden and its banana trees, a Japanese garden, a labyrinth of bamboos, a rose garden or a garden of medicinal plants. A flowery vegetable garden surrounded by apple and pear trees rubs shoulders with orchards and fig trees, as in the days of the Grand Condé. At the edge of the pond also stands a Greco-Roman temple which recalls the gallant past of the pheasantry. Complemented by a small Guignol theater which will see the light of day very soon, the Potager des Princes is a human-sized park which offers a thousand and one surprises for young and old alike ... A true paradise dedicated to lovers of art and nature !
Vegetable garden of the Princes 17 rue de la Faisanderie, 60500 Chantilly More info on //

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