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Susan B. Taylor

French château near Paris, best known for its gardens, laid out between 1700 and 1789. The château was built and maintained by the d’Angennes family from the 14th to the 17th centuries. Catherine de Vivonne, Marquise de Rambouillet (1588–1665), was responsible for beginning the canal and water networks that were to influence later developments at Rambouillet. The definitive layout of the gardens was made under the financier and courtier Joseph-Jean Baptiste Fleuriau d’Armenonville (1661–1728). To accommodate the site surrounding the château, essentially a flat, swampy terrain, d’Armenonville constructed a canal of 740 m that permitted him to establish parterres close to the château: a geometrical quincunx was laid out to the west, and an avenue of cypress trees from Louisiana (unique in Europe) was planted to the east. A second, transverse, canal created a view towards the forest and the horizon. In the trapezoid formed by these canals were two islands, one of which housed a grotto dedicated to François Rabelais. A ...