ROYAL PALACES AND PARKS OF FRANCE
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Rambles on the Riviera $2.50
Rambles in Normandy 2.50
Rambles in Brittany 2.50
The Cathedrals and Churches of the Rhine 2.50
The Cathedrals of Northern France 2.50
The Cathedrals of Southern France 2.50
In the Land of Mosques and Minarets 3.00
Royal Palaces and Parks of France 3.00
Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine and the Loire Country 3.00
Castles and Chateaux of Old Navarre and the Basque Provinces 3.00
Castles and Chateaux of Old Burgundy and the Border Provinces 3.00
Italian Highways and Byways from a Motor Car 3.00
The Automobilist Abroad net 3.00
L. C. Page and Company
53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass.
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ROYAL PALACES AND PARKS OF FRANCE
Author of "Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine," "Castles and Chateaux of Old Burgundy," "Rambles in Normandy," "Italian Highways and Byways from a Motor-Car," etc.
With Many Illustrations Reproduced from paintings made on the spot by Blanche Mcmanus
Boston L. C. Page & Company 1910
Copyright, 1910. by L. C. Page & Company. (Incorporated) All rights reserved
First Impression, November, 1910
Printed by The Colonial Press C. H. Simonds & Co., Boston, U. S. A.
"A thousand years ago, by the rim of a tiny spring, a monk who had avowed himself to the cult of Saint Saturnin, robed, cowled and sandalled, knelt down to say a prayer to his beloved patron saint. Again he came, this time followed by more of his kind, and a wooden cross was planted by the side of the "Fontaine Belle Eau," by this time become a place of pious pilgrimage. After the monk came a king, the latter to hunt in the neighbouring forest."
It was this old account of fact, or legend, that led the author and illustrator of this book to a full realization of the wealth of historic and romantic incidents connected with the French royal parks and palaces, incidents which the makers of guidebooks have passed over in favour of the, presumably, more important, well authenticated facts of history which are often the bare recitals of political rises and falls and dull chronologies of building up and tearing down.
Much of the history of France was made in the great national forests and the royal country-houses of the kingdom, but usually it has been only the events of the capital which have been passed in review. To a great extent this history was of the gallant, daring kind, often written in blood, the sword replacing the pen.
At times gayety reigned supreme, and at times it was sadness; but always the pageant was imposing.
The day of pageants has passed, the day when lords and ladies moved through stately halls, when royal equipages hunted deer or boar on royal preserves, when gay cavalcades of solemn corteges thronged the great French highways to the uttermost frontiers and ofttimes beyond. Those days have passed; but, to one who knows the real France, a ready-made setting is ever at hand if he would depart a little from the beaten paths worn smooth by railway and automobile tourists who follow only the lines of conventional travel.
France, even to-day, the city and the country alike, is the paradise of European monarchs on a holiday. One may be met at Biarritz on the shores of the Gascon gulf; another may be taking the waters at Aix or Vichy, shooting pigeons under the shadow of the Tete de Chien, or hunting at Rambouillet. This is modern France, the most cosmopolitan meeting place and playground of royalty in the world.
French royal parks and palaces, those of the kings and queens of mediaeval, as well as later, times, differ greatly from those of other lands. This is perhaps not so much in their degree of splendour and luxury as in the sentiment which attaches itself to them. In France there has ever been a spirit of gayety and spontaneity unknown elsewhere. It was this which inspired the construction and maintenance of such magnificent royal residences as the palaces of Saint Germain-en-Laye, Fontainebleau, Versailles, Compiegne, Rambouillet, etc., quite different from the motives which caused the erection of the Louvre, the Tuileries or the Palais Cardinal at Paris.
Nowhere else does there exist the equal of these inspired royal country-houses of France, and, when it comes to a consideration of their surrounding parks and gardens, or those royal hunting preserves in the vicinity of the Ile de France, or of those still further afield, at Rambouillet or in the Loire country, their superiority to similar domains beyond the frontiers is even more marked.
In plan this book is a series of itineraries, at least the chapters are arranged, to a great extent in a topographical sequence; and, if the scope is not as wide as all France, it is because of the prominence already given to the parks and palaces of Touraine and elsewhere in the old French provinces in other works in which the artist and author have collaborated. It is for this reason that so little consideration has been given to Chambord, Amboise or Chenonceaux, which were as truly royal as any of that magnificent group of suburban Paris palaces which begins with Conflans and ends with Marly and Versailles.
Going still further afield, there is in the Pyrenees that chateau, royal from all points of view, in which was born the gallant Henri of France and Navarre, but a consideration of that, too, has already been included in another volume.
The present survey includes the royal dwellings of the capital, those of the faubourgs and the outlying districts far enough from town to be recognized as in the country, and still others as remote as Rambouillet, Chantilly and Compiegne. All, however, were intimately connected with the life of the capital in the mediaeval and Renaissance days, and together form a class distinct from any other monumental edifices which exist, or ever have existed, in France.
Mere historic fact has been subordinated as far as possible to a recital of such picturesque incidents of the life of contemporary times as the old writers have handed down to us, and a complete chronological review has in no manner been attempted.
I. INTRODUCTORY 13 II. THE EVOLUTION OF FRENCH GARDENS 14 III. THE ROYAL HUNT IN FRANCE 43 IV. THE PALAIS DE LA CITE AND TOURNELLES 61 V. THE OLD LOUVRE AND ITS HISTORY 75 VI. THE LOUVRE OF FRANCIS I AND ITS SUCCESSORS 85 VII. THE TUILERIES AND ITS GARDENS 106 VIII. THE PALAIS CARDINAL AND THE PALAIS ROYAL 131 IX. THE LUXEMBOURG, THE ELYSEE AND THE PALAIS BOURBON 151 X. VINCENNES AND CONFLANS 168 XI. FONTAINEBLEAU AND ITS FOREST 180 XII. BY THE BANKS OF THE SEINE 203 XIII. MALMAISON AND MARLY 215 XIV. SAINT CLOUD AND ITS PARK 229 XV. VERSAILLES: THE GLORY OF FRANCE 244 XVI. THE GARDENS OF VERSAILLES AND THE TRIANONS 260 XVII. SAINT GERMAIN-EN-LAYE 279 XVIII. MAINTENON 296 XIX. RAMBOUILLET AND ITS FOREST 309 XX. CHANTILLY 324 XXI. COMPIEGNE AND ITS FOREST 342 INDEX 363
TERRACE OF HENRI IV, SAINT GERMAIN (see page 286) Frontispiece THE LOUVRE, THE TUILERIES AND THE PALAIS ROYAL OF TO-DAY facing 12 "JARDIN FRANCAIS—JARDIN ANGLAIS" 15 HENRI IV IN AN OLD FRENCH GARDEN facing 20 PARTERRE DE DIANE, CHENONCEAUX 27 PLAN OF SUNKEN GARDEN (JARDIN CREUX) 30 A PARTERRE facing 32 BASSIN DE LA COURONNE, VAUX-LE-VICOMTE facing 42 A "CUREE AUX FLAMBEAUX" facing 46 AN IMPERIAL HUNT AT FONTAINEBLEAU facing 52 RENDEZVOUS DE CHASSE, RAMBOUILLET facing 56 BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF OLD PARIS (Map) facing 74 THE XIV CENTURY LOUVRE facing 82 THE LOUVRE facing 90 ORIGINAL PLAN OF THE TUILERIES (Diagram) 106 SALLE DES MARECHAUX, TUILERIES facing 116 THE GALLERIES OF THE PALAIS ROYAL 146 BOURBON-ORLEANS DESCENDANTS OF LOUIS PHILIPPE (Diagram) facing 146 PALAIS DU LUXEMBOURG facing 154 DOOR IN THRONE ROOM, LUXEMBOURG 156 THE PETIT LUXEMBOURG facing 156 THE LUXEMBOURG GARDENS facing 158 THE THRONE OF THE PALAIS BOURBON 161 VINCENNES UNDER CHARLES V 168 CHATEAU DE VINCENNES facing 172 A HUNT UNDER THE WALLS OF VINCENNES facing 174 CONFLANS 176 ORIGINAL PLAN OF FONTAINEBLEAU 180 FROM PARIS TO FONTAINEBLEAU (Map) facing 180 PALAIS DE FONTAINEBLEAU facing 186 SALLE DU THRONE, FONTAINEBLEAU facing 190 FRAGMENTS FROM FONTAINEBLEAU facing 192 CHEMINEE DE LA REINE, FONTAINEBLEAU facing 194 MONUMENT TO ROUSSEAU AND MILLET AT BARBISON facing 200 CHATEAU DE BAGATELLE 204 CHATEAU DE MALMAISON facing 218 THE GARDENS OF SAINT CLOUD facing 236 THE CASCADES AT SAINT CLOUD facing 240 COUR DE MARBRE, VERSAILLES facing 264 THE POTAGER DU ROY, VERSAILLES facing 270 THE BASSIN DE LATONE, VERSAILLES facing 272 THE FOUNTAIN OF NEPTUNE, VERSAILLES facing 274 PETIT TRIANON facing 276 LAITERIE DE LA REINE, PETIT TRIANON 277 SAINT GERMAIN (Diagram) 280 THE VALLEY OF THE SEINE, FROM THE TERRACE AT SAINT GERMAIN facing 288 FAUTEUIL OF MME. DE MAINTENON 297 CHATEAU DE MAINTENON facing 300 AQUEDUCT OF LOUIS XIV AT MAINTENON facing 306 CHATEAU DE RAMBOUILLET (Diagram) 309 LAITERIE DE LA REINE, RAMBOUILLET facing 312 CHATEAU DE RAMBOUILLET facing 316 CHANTILLY (Diagram) 325 STATUE OF LE NOTRE, CHANTILLY facing 326 CHATEAU DE CHANTILLY facing 336 COMPIEGNE (Diagram) 343 NAPOLEON'S BEDCHAMBER, COMPIEGNE facing 352 COURS DE COMPIEGNE facing 356
Royal Palaces and Parks of France
The modern traveller sees something beyond mere facts. Historical material as identified with the life of some great architectural glory is something more than a mere repetition of chronologies; the sidelights and the co-related incidents, though indeed many of them may be but hearsay, are quite as interesting, quite as necessary, in fact, for the proper appreciation of a famous palace or chateau as long columns of dates, or an evolved genealogical tree which attempts to make plain that which could be better left unexplained. The glamour of history would be considerably dimmed if everything was explained, and a very seamy block of marble may be chiselled into a very acceptable statue if the workman but knows how to avoid the doubtful parts.
An itinerary that follows not only the ridges, but occasionally plunges down into the hollows and turns up or down such crossroads as may have chanced to look inviting, is perhaps more interesting than one laid out on conventional lines. A shadowy something, which for a better name may be called sentiment, if given full play encourages these side-steps, and since they are generally found fruitful, and often not too fatiguing, the procedure should be given every encouragement.
Not all the interesting royal palaces and chateaux of France are those with the best known names. Not all front on Paris streets and quays, no more than the best glimpses of ancient or modern France are to be had from the benches of a sight-seeing automobile.
Versailles, and even Fontainebleau, are too frequently considered as but the end of a half-day pilgrimage for the tripper. It were better that one should approach them more slowly, and by easy stages, and leave them less hurriedly. As for those architectural monuments of kings, which were tuned in a minor key, they, at all events, need to be hunted down on the spot, the enthusiast being forearmed with such scraps of historic fact as he can gather beforehand, otherwise he will see nothing at Conflans, Marly or Bourg-la-Reine which will suggest that royalty ever had the slightest concern therewith.
Dealing first with Paris it is evident it is there that the pilgrim to French shrines must make his most profound obeisance. This applies as well to palaces as to churches. In all cases one goes back into the past to make a start, and old Paris, what there is left of it, is still old Paris, though one has to leave the grand boulevards to find this out.
Colberts and Haussmanns do not live to-day, or if they do they have become so "practical" that a drainage canal or an overhead or underground railway is more of a civic improvement than the laying out of a public park, like the gardens of the Tuileries, or the building and embellishment of a public edifice—at least with due regard for the best traditions. When the monarchs of old called in men of taste and culture instead of "business men" they builded in the most agreeable fashion. We have not improved things with our "systems" and our committees of "hommes d'affaires."
It is the fashion to-day to decry the cavaliers and the wearers of "love-locks," but they had a pretty taste in art and an eye for artistic surroundings, those old fellows of the sword and cloak; a much more pretty taste than their descendants, the steam-heat and running-water partisans of to-day. Louis XV and Empire drawing and dining-rooms are everywhere advertised as the attractions of the great palace hotels, and some of them are very good copies of their predecessors, though one cannot help but feel that the clientele as a whole is more insistent on telephones in the bedrooms and auto-taxis always on tap than with regard to the sentiment of good taste and good cheer which is to be evoked by eating even a hurried meal in a room which reproduces some historically famous Salle des Gardes or the Chambre of the OEil de Boeuf of the Louvre, if, indeed, most of the hungry folk know what their surroundings are supposed to represent.
Any chronicle which attempts to set down a record of the comings and goings of French monarchs is saved from being a mere dull chronology of dates and resume of facts by its obligatory references to the architects and builders who made possible the splendid settings amid which these picturesque rulers passed their lives.
The castle builders of France, the garden designers, the architects, decorators and craftsmen of all ranks produced not a medley, but a coherent, cohesive whole, which stands apart from, and far ahead of, most of the contemporary work of its kind in other lands. Castles and keeps were of one sort in England and Scotland, of still another along the Rhine, and if the Renaissance palaces and chateaux first came into being in Italy it is certain they never grew to the flowering luxuriance there that they did in France.
Thus does France establish itself as leader in new movements once again. It was so in the olden time with the arts of the architect, the landscape gardener and the painter; it is so to-day with respect to such mundane, less sentimental things as automobiles and aeroplanes.
Another chapter, in a story long since started, is a repetition, or review, of the outdoor life of the French monarchs and their followers. Not only did Frenchmen of Gothic and Renaissance times have a taste for travelling far afield, pursuing the arts of peace or war as their conscience or conditions dictated; but they loved, too, the open country and the open road at home; they loved also la chasse, as they did tournaments, fetes-champetres and outdoor spectacles of all kinds. Add these stage settings to the splendid costuming and the flamboyant architectural accessories of Renaissance times in France and we have what is assuredly not to be found in other lands, a spectacular and imposing pageant of mediaeval and Renaissance life and manners which is superlative from all points of view.
This is perhaps hard, sometimes, to reconcile with the French attitude towards outdoor life to-day, when la chasse means the hunting of tame foxes (a sport which has been imported from across the channel), "sport" means a prize fight, and a garden party or a fete-champetre a mere gossiping rendezvous over a cup of badly made tea. In the France of the olden time they did things differently—and better.
Not all French history was made, or written, within palace walls; much of it came into being in the open air, like the two famous meetings by the Bidassoa, Napoleon's first sight of Marie Louise on the highroad leading out from Senlis, or his making the Pope a prisoner at the Croix de Saint Heram, in the Forest of Fontainebleau.
It is this change of scene that makes French history so appealing to those who might otherwise let it remain in shut-up and dry-as-dust books on library shelves.
The French monarchs of old were indeed great travellers, and it is by virtue of the fact that affairs of state were often promulgated and consummated en voyage that a royal stamp came to be acquired by many a chateau or country-house which to-day would hardly otherwise be considered as of royal rank.
Throughout France, notably in the neighbourhood of Paris, are certain chateaux—palaces only by lack of name—of the nobility where royalties were often as much at home as under their own royal standards. One cannot attempt to confine the limits where these chateaux are to be found, for they actually covered the length and breadth of France.
Journeying afield in those romantic times was probably as comfortably accomplished, by monarchs at least, as it is to-day. What was lacking was speed, but they lodged at night under roofs as hospitable as those of the white and gold caravanserai (and some more humble) which perforce come to be temporary abiding places of royalties en tour to-day. The writer has seen the Dowager Queen of Italy lunching at a neighbouring table at a roadside trattoria in Piedmont which would have no class distinction whatever as compared with the average suburban road-house across the Atlantic. At Biarritz, too, the automobiling monarch, Alphonse XIII, has been known to take "tea" on the terrace of the great tourist-peopled hotel in company with mere be-goggled commoners. Le temps va! Were monarchs so democratic in the olden time, one wonders.
The court chronicles of all ages, and all ranks, have proved a gold mine for the makers of books of all sorts and conditions. Not only court chroniclers but pamphleteers, even troubadours and players, have contributed much to the records of the life of mediaeval France. All history was not made by political intrigue or presumption; a good deal of it was born of the gentler passions, and a chap-book maker would put often into print many accounts which the recorder of mere history did not dare use. History is often enough sorry stuff when it comes to human interest, and it needs editing only too often.
Courtiers and the fashionable world of France, ever since the days of the poetry-making and ballad-singing Francis and Marguerite, and before, for that matter, made of literature—at least the written and spoken chronicle of some sort—a diversion and an accomplishment. Royal or official patronage given these mediaeval story-tellers did not always produce the truest tales. Then, as now, writer folk were wont to exaggerate, but most of their work made interesting reading.
These courtiers of the itching pen did not often write for money. Royal favour, or that of some fair lady, or ladies, was their chief return in many more cases than those for which their accounts were settled by mere dross. It is in the work of such chroniclers as these that one finds a fund of unrepeated historic lore.
The dramatists came on the scene with their plots ready-made (and have been coming ever since, if one recalls the large number of French costume plays of recent years), and whether they introduced errors of fact, or not, there was usually so much truth about their work that the very historians more than once were obliged to have recourse to the productions of their colleagues. The dramatists' early days in France, as in England, were their golden days. The mere literary man, or chronicler, was often flayed alive, but the dramatist, even though he dished up the foibles of a king, and without any dressing at that, was feted and made as much of as a record piano player of to-day.
One hears a lot about the deathbed scribblers in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but there was not much of that sort of thing in France. No one here penned bitter jibes and lascivious verses merely to keep out of jail, as did Nash and Marlowe in England. In short, one must give due credit to the court chroniclers and ballad-singers of France as being something more than mere pilfering, blackmailing hacks.
All the French court and its followers in the sixteenth century shouted epigrams and affected being greater poets than they really were. It was a good sign, and it left its impress on French literature. Following in the footsteps of Francis I and the two Marguerites nobles vied with each other in their efforts to produce some epoch-making work of poesy or prose, and while they did not often publish for profit they were glad enough to see themselves in print. Then there were also the professional men of letters, as distinct from the courtiers with literary ambitions, the churchmen and courtly attaches of all ranks with the literary bee humming in their bonnets. They, too, left behind them an imposing record, which has been very useful to others coming after who were concerned with getting a local colour of a brand which should look natural.
It is with such guiding lights as are suggested by the foregoing resume that one seeks his clues for the repicturing of the circumstances under which French royal palaces were erected, as well as for the truthful repetition of the ceremonies and functions of the times, for the court life of old, whether in city palace or country chateau, was a very different thing from that of the Republican regime of to-day.
Not only were the royal Paris dwellings, from the earliest times, of a profound luxuriance of design and execution, but the private hotels, the palaces, one may well say, of the nobility were of the same superlative order, and kings and queens alike did not disdain to lodge therein on such occasions as suited their convenience. The suggestive comparison is made because of the close liens with which royalty and the higher nobility were bound.
It is sufficient to recall, among others of this class, the celebrated Hotel de Beauvais which will illustrate the reference. Not only was this magnificent town house of palatial dimensions, but it was the envy of the monarchs themselves, because of its refined elegance of construction. This edifice exists to-day, in part, at No. 68 Rue Francois Miron, and the visitor may judge for himself as to its former elegance.
Loret, in his "Gazette" in verse, recounts a visit made to the Hotel de Beauvais in 1663 by Marie Therese, the Queen of Louis XIV.
Mercredi, notre auguste Reine, Cette charmante souveraine, Fut chez Madame de Beauvais Pour de son amiable palais Voir les merveilles etonnantes Et les raretes surprenantes.
Times have changed, for the worse or for the better. The sedan-chair and the coach have given way to the automobile and the engine, and the wood fire to a stale calorifer, or perhaps a gas-log.
The comparisons are odious; there is no question as to this; but it is by contrast that the subject is made the more interesting.
From the old Palais des Thermes (now a part of the Musee de Cluny) of the Roman emperors down through the Palais de la Cite (where lodged the kings of the first and second races) to the modern installations of the Louvre is a matter of twelve centuries. The record is by no means a consecutive one, but a record exists which embraces a dozen, at least, of the Paris abodes of royalty, where indeed they lived according to many varying scales of comfort and luxury.
Not all the succeeding French monarchs had the abilities or the inclinations that enabled them to keep up to the traditions of the art-loving Francis I, but almost all of their number did something creditable in building or decoration, or commanded it to be done.
Louis XIV, though he delayed the adjustment of Europe for two centuries, was the first real beautifier of Paris since Philippe Auguste. Privately his taste in art and architecture was rather ridiculous, but publicly he and his architects achieved great things in the general scheme.
Napoleon I, in turn, caught up with things in a political sense, in truth he ran ahead of them, but he in no way neglected the embellishments of the capital, and added a new wing to the Louvre, and filled Musees with stolen loot, which remorse, or popular clamour, induced him, for the most part, to return at a later day.
In a decade Napoleon made much history, and he likewise did much for the royal palaces of France. After him a gap supervened until the advent of Napoleon III, who, weakling that he was, had the perspicacity to give the Baron Haussmann a chance to play his part in the making of modern Paris, and if the Tuileries and Saint Cloud had not disappeared as a result of his indiscretion the period of the Second Empire would not have been at all discreditable, as far as the impress it left on Paris was concerned.
THE EVOLUTION OF FRENCH GARDENS
The French garden was a creation of all epochs from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, and, for the most part, those of to-day and of later decades of the nineteenth century, are adaptations and restorations of the classic accepted forms.
From the modest jardinet of the moyen-age to the ample gardens and parterres of the Renaissance was a wide range. In their highest expression these early French gardens, with their broderies and carreaux may well be compared as works of art with contemporary structures in stone or wood or stuffs in woven tapestries, which latter they greatly resembled.
Under Louis XIV and Louis XV the elaborateness of the French garden was even more an accentuated epitome of the tastes of the period. Near the end of the eighteenth century a marked deterioration was noticeable and a separation of the tastes which ordained the arrangement of contemporary dwellings and their gardens was very apparent. Under the Empire the antique style of furniture and decoration was used too, but there was no contemporary expression with regard to garden making.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, under the Second Empire, the symmetrical lines of the old-time parterres came again into being, and to them were attached composite elements or motives, which more closely resembled details of the conventional English garden than anything distinctly French.
The English garden was, for the most part, pure affectation in France, or, at best, it was treated as a frank exotic. Even to-day, in modern France, where an old dwelling of the period of Henri IV, Francois I, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, or Louis XV still exists with its garden, the latter is more often than not on the classically pure French lines, while that of a modern cottage, villa or chateau is often a poor, variegated thing, fantastic to distraction.
Turning back the pages of history one finds that each people, each century, possessed its own specious variety of garden; a species which responded sufficiently to the tastes and necessities of the people, to their habits and their aspirations.
Garden-making, like the art of the architect, differed greatly in succeeding centuries, and it is for this reason that the garden of the moyen-age, of the epoch of the Crusades, for example, did not bear the least resemblance to the more ample parterres of the Renaissance. Civilization was making great progress, and it was necessary that the gardens should be in keeping with a less restrained, more luxurious method of life.
If the gardens of the Renaissance marked a progress over the preaux and jardinets of mediaevalism, those of Le Notre were a blossoming forth of the Renaissance seed. Regretfully, one cannot say as much for the garden plots of the eighteenth century, and it was only with the mid-nineteenth century that the general outlines took on a real charm and attractiveness again, and this was only achieved by going back to original principles.
The first gardens were the vergers and preaux, little checker-board squares of a painful primitiveness as compared with later standards. These squares, or carreaux, were often laid out in foliage and blossoming plants as suggestive as possible of their being made of carpeting or marble. When these miniature enclosures came to be surrounded with trellises and walls the Renaissance in garden-making may be considered as having been in full sway.
Under Louis XIV a certain affluence was noticeable in garden plots, and with Louis XV an even more notable symmetry was apparent in the disposition of the general outlines. By this time, the garden in France had become a frame which set off the architectural charms of the dwelling rather than remaining a mere accessory, but it was only with the replacing of the castle-fortress by the more domesticated chateau that a really generous garden space became a definite attribute of a great house.
The first gardens surrounding the French chateaux were developments, or adaptations, of Italian gardens, such as were designed across the Alps by Mercogliano, during the feudal period.
Later, and during the time of the Crusades, the garden question hardly entered into French life. Gardens, like all other luxuries, were given little thought when the graver questions of peace and security were to be considered, and, for this reason, there is little or nothing to say of French gardens previous to the twelfth century.
An important species of the gardens of the moyen-age was that which was found as an adjunct to the great monastic institutions, the preaux, which were usually surrounded by the cloister colonnade. One of the most important of these, of which history makes mention, was that of the Abbaye de Saint Gall, of which Charlemagne was capitular. It was he who selected the plants and vegetables which the dwellers therein should cultivate.
Of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries there is an abundant literary record, and, in a way, a pictorial record as well. From these one can make a very good deduction of what the garden of that day was like; still restrained, but yet something more than rudimentary. From now on French gardens were divided specifically into the potager and verger.
The potager was virtually a vegetable garden within the walls which surrounded the seigneurial dwelling, and was of necessity of very limited extent, chiefly laid out in tiny carreaux, or beds, bordered by tiles or bricks, much as a small city garden is arranged to-day. Here were cultivated the commonest vegetables, a few flowers and a liberal assortment of herbs, such as rue, mint, parsley, sage, lavender, etc.
The verger, or viridarium, was practically a fruit garden, as it is to-day, with perhaps a generous sprinkling of flowers and aromatic plants. The verger was always outside the walls, but not far from the entrance or the drawbridge crossing the moat and leading to the chateau.
It was to the verger, or orchard, curiously enough, that in times of peace the seigneur and his family retired after luncheon for diversion or repose.
"D illocques vieng en cest vergier Eascuns jour pour s'esbanoier."
Thus ran a couplet of the "Roman de Thebes"; and of the hundred or more tales of chivalry in verse, which are recognized as classic, nearly all make mention of the verger.
It was here that young men and maidens came in springtime for the fete of flowers, when they wove chaplets and garlands, for the moyen-age had preserved the antique custom of the coiffure of flowers, that is to say hats of natural flowers, as we might call them to-day, except that modern hats seemingly call for most of the products of the barnyard and the farm in their decoration, as well as the flowers of the field.
The rose was queen among all these flowers and then came the lily and the carnation, chiefly in their simple, savage state, not the highly cultivated product of to-day. From the ballads and the love songs, one gathers that there were also violets, eglantine, daisies, pansies, forget-me-nots, and the marguerite, or consoude, was one of the most loved of all.
The carnation, or oeillet, was called armerie; the pansy was particularly in favour with the ladies, who embroidered it on their handkerchiefs and their girdles. Still other flowers found a place in this early horticultural catalogue, the marigold, gladiolus, stocks, lily-of-the-valley and buttercups.
Frequently the verger was surrounded by a protecting wall, of more or less architectural pretense, with towers and accessories conforming to the style of the period, and decorative and utilitarian fountains, benches and seats were also common accessories.
The old prints, which reproduced these early French gardens, are most curious to study, amusing even; but their point of view was often distorted as to perspective. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, perspective was almost wholly ignored in pictorial records. There was often no scale, and no depth; everything was out of proportion with everything else, and for this reason it is difficult to judge of the exact proportions of many of these early French gardens.
The origin of garden-making in France, in the best accepted sense of the term, properly began with the later years of the thirteenth century and the early years of the fourteenth; continuing the tradition, remained distinctly French until the mid-fifteenth century, for the Italian influence did not begin to make itself felt until after the Italian wars and travels of Charles VIII, Louis XI and Francis I.
The earliest traces of the work of the first two of these monarchs are to be seen at Blois and, for a time henceforth, it is to be presumed that all royal gardens in France were largely conceived under the inspiration of Italian influences. Before, as there were primitives in the art of painting in France, there were certainly French gardeners in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. One of these, whoever he may have been, was the designer of the preaux and the treilles of the Louvre of Charles V, of which a pictorial record exists, and he, or they, did work of a like nature for the powerful house of Bourgogne, and for Rene d'Anjou, whom we know was a great amateur gardener.
The archives of these princely houses often recount the expenses in detail, and so numerous are certain of them that it would not be difficult to picture anew as to just what they referred.
Debanes, the gardener of the Chateau d'Angers, on a certain occasion, gave an accounting for "X Sols" for repairing the grass-plots and for making a petit preau. Again: "XI Sols" for the employ of six gardeners to trim the vines and clean up the alleys of the grand and petit jardin.
Luxury in all things settled down upon all France to a greater degree than hitherto in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and almost without exception princely houses set out to rival one another in the splendour of their surroundings. Now came in the ornamental garden as distinct from the verger, and the preau became a greensward accessory, at once practical and decorative, the precursor of the pelouse and the parterre of Le Notre.
The preau (in old French prael) was a symmetrical square or rectangular grass-grown garden plot. From the Latin pratum, or pratellum, the words preau, pre and prairie were evolved naturally enough, and came thus early to be applied in France to that portion of the pleasure garden set out as a grassy lawn. The word is very ancient, and has come down to us through the monkish vocabulary of the cloister.
Some celebrated verse of Christine de Pisan, who wrote "The Life of Charles V," thus describes the cloister at Poissy.
"Du cloistre grand large et especieux Que est carre, et, afin qu'il soit mieulx A un prael, ou milieu, gracieux Vert sans grappin Ou a plante en my un tres hault pin."
It was at this period, that of Saint Louis and the apotheosis of Gothic architecture, that France was at the head of European civilization, therefore in no way can her preeminence in garden-making be questioned.
The gardens of the Gothic era seldom surpassed the enclos with a rivulet passing through it, a spring, a pine tree giving a welcome shade, some simple flowers and a verger of fruit trees.
The neighbours of France were often warring among themselves but the Grand Seigneur here was settling down to beautifying his surroundings and framing his chateaux, manors and country-seats in dignified and most appealing pictures. Grass-plots appeared in dooryards, flowers climbed up along castle walls and shrubs and trees came to play a genuinely esthetic role in the life of the times.
An illustrious stranger, banished from Italy, one Brunetto Latini, the master of Dante, who had sought a refuge in France, wrote his views on the matter, which in substance were as above.
About this time originated the progenitors of the gloriettes, which became so greatly the vogue in the eighteenth century. Practically the gloriette, a word in common use in northern France and in Flanders, was a logette de plaisance. The Spaniards, too, in their glorietta, a pavilion in a garden, had practically the same signification of the word.
In the fourteenth century French garden the gloriette was a sort of arbour, or trellis-like summer-house, garnished with vines and often perched upon a natural or artificial eminence. Other fast developing details of the French garden were tree-bordered alleys and the planting of more or less regularly set-out beds of flowering plants.
Vine trellises and vine-clad pavilions and groves were a speedy development of these details, and played parts of considerable importance in gardening under the French Renaissance.
In this same connection there is a very precise record in an account of the gardens of the Louvre under Charles V concerning the contribution of one, Jean Baril, maker of Arlors, to this form of the landscape architect's art.
"Ornamental birds—peacocks, pheasants and swans now came in as adjuncts to the French land and water garden." This was the way a certain pertinent comment was made by a writer of the fifteenth century. From the "Menagier de Paris," a work of the end of the fourteenth century, one learns that behind a dwelling of a prince or noble of the time was usually to be found a "beau jardin tout plante d'arbres a fruits, de legumes, de rosiers, orne de volieres et tapise de gazon sur lesquels se promenent les paons."
French gardens of various epochs are readily distinguished by the width of their alleys. In the moyen-age the paths which separated the garden plots were very narrow; in the early Renaissance period they were somewhat wider, taking on a supreme maximum in the gardens of Le Notre.
Trimmed trees entered into the general scheme in France towards the end of the fifteenth century. Under Henri IV and under Louis XII trees were often trimmed in ungainly, fantastic forms, but with the advent of Le Notre the good taste which he propagated so widely promptly rejected these grotesques, which, for a fact, were an importation from Flanders, like the gloriettes. Not by the remotest suggestion could a clipped yew in the form of a peacock or a giraffe be called French. Le Notre eliminated the menagerie and the aviary, but kept certain geometrical forms, particularly with respect to hedges, where niches were frequently trimmed out for the placing of statues, columns surmounted with golden balls, etc.
The most famous of the frankly Renaissance gardens developed as a result of the migrations of the French monarchs in Italy were those surrounding such palaces and chateaux as Fontainebleau, Amboise, and Blois. Often these manifestly French gardens, though of Italian inspiration in the first instance, were actually the work of Italian craftsmen. Pucello Marceliano at four hundred livres and Edme Marceliano at two hundred livres were in the employ of Henri II. It was the former who laid out the magnificent Parterre de Diane at Chenonceaux, where Catherine de Medici later, being smitten with the skill of the Florentines, gave the further commission of the Jardin Vert, which was intended to complete this parterre, to Henri le Calabrese and Jean Collo.
The later Renaissance gardens divided themselves into various classes, jardins de plaisir, jardins de plaisance, jardins de proprete, etc. Parterres now became of two sorts, parterres a compartiments and parterres de broderies, names sufficiently explicit not to need further comment.
It is difficult to determine just how garden broderies came into being. They may have been indirectly due to woman's love of embroidery and the garden alike. The making of these garden broderies was a highly cultivated art. Pierre Vallet, embroiderer to Henri IV, created much in his line of distinction and note, and acquired an extensive clientele for his flowers and models. Often these gardens, with their parterres and broderies were mere additions to an already existing architectural scheme, but with respect to the gardens of the Luxembourg and Saint Germain-en-Laye they came into being with the edifices themselves, or at least those portions which they were supposed to embellish. Harmony was then first struck between the works of the horticulturist—the garden-maker—and those of the architect—the builder in stone and wood. This was the prelude to those majestic ensembles of which Le Notre was to be the composer.
Of the celebrated French palace and chateau gardens which are not centered upon the actual edifices with which they are more or less intimately connected, but are distinct and apart from the gardens which in most cases actually surround a dwelling, may be mentioned those of Montargis, Saint Germain, Amboise, Villers-Cotterets and Fontainebleau. These are rather parks, like the "home-parks," so called, in England, which, while adjuncts to the dwellings, are complete in themselves and are possessed of a separate identity, or reason for being. Chiefly these, and indeed most French gardens of the same epoch, differ greatly from contemporary works in Italy in that the latter were often built and terraced up and down the hillsides, whereas the French garden was laid out, in the majority of instances, on the level, though each made use of interpolated architectural accessories such as balustrades, statuary, fountains, etc.
Mollet was one of the most famous gardeners of the time of Louis XIV. He was the gardener of the Duc d'Aumale, who built the gardens of the Chateau d'Anet while it was occupied by Diane de Poitiers, and for their time they were considered the most celebrated in France for their upkeep and the profusion and variety of their flowers. This was the highest development of the French garden up to this time.
It is possible that this Claude Mollet was the creator of the parterres and broderies so largely used in his time, and after. Mollet's formula was derived chiefly from flower and plant forms, resembling in design oriental embroideries. He made equal use of the labyrinth and the sunken garden. His idea was to develop the simple parquet into the elaborate parterre. He began his career under Henri III and ultimately became the gardener of Henri IV. His elaborate work "Theatre des Plans et Jardinage" was written towards 1610-1612, but was only published a half a century later. It was only in the sixteenth century that gardens in Paris were planned and developed on a scale which was the equal of many which had previously been designed in the provinces.
The chief names in French gardening—before the days of Le Notre—were those of the two Mollets, the brothers Boyceau, de la Barauderie and Jacques de Menours, and all successively held the post of Superintendent of the Garden of the King.
In these royal gardens there was always a distinctly notable feature, the grand roiales, the principal avenues, or alleys, which were here found on a more ambitious scale than in any of the private gardens of the nobility. The central avenue was always of the most generous proportions, the nomenclature coming from royal—the grand roial being the equivalent of Allee Royale, that is, Avenue Royal.
By the end of the sixteenth century the Garden of the Tuileries, which was later to be entirely transformed by Le Notre, offered an interesting aspect of the parquet at its best. In "Paris a Travers les Ages" one reads that from the windows of the palace the garden resembled a great checker-board containing more than a hundred uniform carreaux. There were six wide longitudinal alleys or avenues cut across by eight or ten smaller alleys which produced this rectangular effect. Within some of the squares were single, or grouped trees; in others the conventional quincunx; others were mere expanses of lawn, and still others had flowers arranged in symmetrical patterns. In one of these squares was a design which showed the escutcheons of the arms of France and those of the Medici. These gardens of the Tuileries were first modified by a project of Bernard Palissy, the porcelainiste. He let his fancy have full sway and the criss-cross alleys and avenues were set out at their junctures with moulded ornaments, enamelled miniatures, turtles in faience and frogs in porcelain. It was this, perhaps, which gave the impetus to the French for their fondness to-day for similar effects, but Bernard Palissy doubtless never went so far as plaster cats on a ridgepole, as one may see to-day on many a pretty villa in northern France. This certainly lent an element of picturesqueness to the Renaissance Garden of the Louvre, a development of the same spirit which inspired this artist in his collaboration at Chenonceaux. This was the formula which produced the jardin delectable, an exaggeration of the taste of the epoch, but still critical of its time.
The gardens of the Renaissance readily divided themselves into two classes, those of the parterres a compartiments and those of the parterres de broderies. The former, under Francis I and Henri II, were divided into geometrical compartments thoroughly in the taste of the Renaissance, but bordered frequently with representations of designs taken from Venetian lace and various other contemporary stuffs. There were other parterres, where the compartments were planned on a more utilitarian scale; in other words, they were the potagers which rendered the garden, said Olivier de Serres, one of "profitable beauty." Some of the compartments were devoted entirely to herbs and medicinal plants while others were entirely given over to flowers. In general the compartments were renewed twice a year, in May and August.
The Grand Parterre at Fontainebleau, called in other days the Parterre de Tiber, offered as remarkable an example of the terrace garden as was to be found in France, the terraces rising a metre or more above the actual garden plot and enclosing a sort of horticultural arena.
It was in the sixteenth century that architectural motives came to be incorporated into the gardens in the form of square, round or octagonal pavilions, and here and there were added considerable areas of tiled pavements, features which were found at their best in the gardens of the Chateau de Gaillon and at Langeais.
One special and distinct feature of the French Renaissance garden was the labyrinth, of which three forms were known. The first was composed of merely low borders, the second of hedges shoulder high, or even taller, and the third was practically a roofed-over grove. The latter invention was due, it is said, to the discreet Louis XIV. In the Tuileries garden, in the time of Catherine de Medici, there was a labyrinth greatly in vogue with the Parisian nobles who "found much pleasure in amusing themselves therein."
In that garden the labyrinth was sometimes called the "Road of Jerusalem" and it was presumably of eastern origin.
In the seventeenth century grottos came to be added to the garden, though this is seemingly an Italian tradition of much earlier date. Among the notable grottos of this time were that of the Jardin des Pins at Fontainebleau, and that of the Chateau de Meudon, built by Philibert Delorme, of which Ronsard celebrated its beauties in verse. The art was not confined to the gardens of royalties and the nobility, for the bourgeoisie speedily took up with the puerile idea (said to have come from Holland, by the way), and built themselves grottos of shells, plaster and boulders. It was then that the chiens de faience, which the smug Paris suburbanite of to-day so loves, were born.
By the seventeenth century the equalized carreaux of the early geometrically disposed gardens were often replaced with the oblongs, circles and, somewhat timidly introduced, more bizarre forms, the idea being to give variety to the ensemble. There was less fear for the artistic effect of great open spaces than had formerly existed, and the avenues and alleys were considerably enlarged, and such architectural and sculptural accessories as fountains, balustrades and perrons were designed on a more extensive scale. Basins and canals and other restrained surfaces of water began to appear on a larger scale, and greater insistence was put upon their proportions with regard to the decorative part which they were to play in the ensemble.
This was the preparatory period of the coming into being of the works of Le Notre and Mansart.
The Grand Siecle lent a profound majesty to royal and noble dwellings, and its effect is no less to be remarked upon than the character of their gardens. The moving spirit which ordained all these things was the will of the Roi Soleil.
Parterres and broderies were designed on even a grander scale than before. They were frequently grouped into four equal parts with a circular basin in the centre, and mirror-like basins of water sprang up on all sides.
Close to the royal dwelling was the fore-court, as often dressed out with flowers and lawn as with tiles and flags. From it radiated long alleys and avenues, stretching out almost to infinity. At this time the grass-plots were developed to high order, and there were groves, rest-houses, bowers, and theatres de verdure at each turning. Tennis-courts came to be a regularly installed accessory, and the basins and "mirrors" of water were frequently supplemented by cascades, and some of the canals were so large that barges of state floated thereon. Over some of the canals bridges were built as fantastic in design as those of the Japanese, and again others as monumental as the Pont Neuf.
In their majestic regularity the French gardens of the seventeenth century possessed an admirable solemnity, albeit their amplitude and majesty give rise to justifiable criticism. It is this criticism that qualifies the values of such gardens as those of Versailles and Vaux, but one must admit that the scale on which they were planned has much to do with this, and certainly if they had been attached to less majestic edifices the comment would have been even more justifiable. As it is, the criticism must be qualified.
The aspect of the garden by this time had been greatly modified. Aside from such great ensembles as those of Versailles was now to be considered a taste for something smaller, but often overcrowded with accessories of the same nature, which compared so well with the vastness of Versailles, but which, on the other hand, looked so out of place in miniature.
It was not long now before the "style pompadour" began to make itself shown with regard to garden design—the exaggeration of an undeniable grace by an affected mannerism. All the rococco details which had been applied to architecture now began to find their duplication in the garden rockeries—weird fantasies built of plaster and even shells of the sea.
By later years of the eighteenth century there came on the scene as a designer of gardens one, De Neufforge. His work was a prelude to the classicism of the style of Louis XVI which was to come. There was, too, at this time a disposition towards the English garden, but only a slight tendency, though towards 1780 the conventional French garden had been practically abandoned. The revolution in the art of garden-making therefore preceded that of the world of politics by some years.
There are three or four works which give specific details on these questions. They are "De la Distribution des Maisons de Plaisance," by Blondel (1773), his "Cours d'Architecture" of the same date, and Panseron's volume entitled "Recueil de Jardinage," published in 1783.
The following brief resume shows the various steps through which the French formal garden passed. In the moyen-age the garden was a thing quite apart from the dwelling, and was but a diminutive dooryard sort of a garden. The garden of the Renaissance amplified the regular lines which existed in the moyen-age, but was often quite as little in accord with the dwelling that it surrounded as its predecessor.
The union of the garden and the dwelling and its dependencies was clearly marked under Louis XIV, while the gardens of Louis XV tended somewhat to modify the grand lines and the majestic presence of those of his elder. These gardens of Louis XV were more fantastic, and followed less the lines of traditional good taste. Shapes and forms were complicated and indeed inexplicably mixed into a melange that one could hardly recognize for one thing or another, certainly not as examples of any well-meaning styles which have lasted until to-day. The straight line now disappeared in favour of the most dissolute and irrational curves imaginable, and the sober majesty of the gardens of Louis XIV became a tangle of warring elements, fine in parts and not uninteresting, effective, even, here and there, but as a whole an aggravation.
Finally the reaction came for something more simple and more in harmony with rational taste.
The best example remaining of the Louis XV garden is that which surrounds the Pavillon de Musique of the Petit Trianon, an addition to the garden which Louis XIV had given to the Grand Trianon. By comparison with the big garden of Le Notre this latter conception is as a boudoir to a reception hall.
The garden of Louis XVI was a composite, with interpolations from across the Rhine, from Holland and Belgium and from England even; features which got no great hold, however, but which, for a time, gave it an air less French than anything which had gone before.
From the beginning of the nineteenth century the formal garden was practically abandoned in France. It was the period of the real decadence of the formal garden. This came not from one cause alone but from many. To the straight lines and gentle curves of former generations upon generations of French gardens were added sinuosities as varied and complicated as those of the Vale of Cashmere, and again, with tiny stars and crescents and what not, the ground resembled an ornamental ceiling more than it did a garden. The sentimentalism of the epoch did its part, and accentuated the desire to carry out personal tastes rather than build on traditionally accepted lines. The taste for the English garden grew apace in France, and many a noble plantation was remodelled on these lines, or rooted up altogether. Immediately neighbouring upon the dwelling the garden still bore some resemblance to its former outlines, but, as it drew farther away, it became a park, a wildwood or a preserve.
Isabey Pere, a miniaturist, under Napoleonic stimulus, designed a number of French gardens in the early years of the nineteenth century, following more or less the conventional lines of the best work of the seventeenth century, and succeeded admirably in a small way in resuscitating the fallen taste. Isabey's gardens may have lacked much that was remarkable in the best work of Le Notre, but they were considerably better than anything of a similar nature, so far as indicating a commendable desire to return to better ideals.
Under the Second Empire a great impulse was given to garden design and making in Paris itself. It was then that the parks and squares came really to enter into the artistic conception of what a city beautiful should be.
Leaving the gardens of the Tuileries and the Luxembourg out of the question, the Parc Monceau and that of the Buttes Chaumont of to-day, the descendants of these first Paris gardens show plainly how thoroughly good they were in design and execution.
The majority of professional gardeners of renown in France made their first successes with the gardens of the city of Paris, reproducing the best of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century work, which had endured without the competition of later years having dulled its beauty, though perhaps the parterres of to-day are rather more warm in colouring, even cruder, than those of a former time.
The jardin fleuriste and the parterre horticole of the nineteenth century appealed however quite as much in their general arrangement and the modification of their details and their rainbow colours, as any since the time of Louis XVI. According to the expert definition the jardin fleuriste was a "garden reserved exclusively to the culture and ornamental disposition of plants giving forth rich leaves and beautiful flowers." The above quoted description is decidedly apt.
The seventeenth century French garden formed a superb framing for the animated fetes and reunions in which took part such a brilliant array of lords and ladies of the court as may have been invited to taste the delicacies of a fete amid such luxurious appointments.
The fashionable and courtly life of the day, so far as its open-air aspect was concerned, centered around these gardens and parks of the great houses of royalty and the nobility. The costume of the folk of the time, with cloak and sword and robes of silk and velvet and gilded carriages and chaises-a-porteurs, had little in common with the out-of-door garden-party life of to-day, where the guests arrive in automobiles, be-rugged and be-goggled and somewhat the worse for a dusty journey. It is for this reason that Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte, in spite of the suggestion of sumptuousness which they still retain, are, from all points of view, more or less out of scale with the life of our times.
The modern garden, whether laid out in regular lines, or on an ornamental scale, as a flower garden purely, or in a composite style, is usually but an adjunct to the modern chateau, villa or cottage. It is more intimate than the vast, more theatrically disposed area of old, and is more nearly an indication of the personal tastes of the owner because of its restrained proportions.
THE ROYAL HUNT IN FRANCE
Just how great a part the royal hunt played in the open-air life of the French court all who know their French history and have any familiarity with the great forests of France well recognize.
The echo of French country architecture as evinced in the "maisons de plaisance" and "rendezvous de chasse" scattered up and down the France of monarchial times lives until to-day, scarcely fainter than when the note was originally sounded. Often these establishments were something more than a mere hunting-lodge, or shooting-box, indeed they generally aspired to the proportions of what may readily be accepted as a country-house. They established a specious type of architecture which in many cases grew, in later years, into a chateau or palace of manifestly magnificent appointments.
At the great hunting exposition recently held at Vienna the clou of the display was a French royal hunting-lodge in the style of Louis XVI, hung with veritable Gobelin tapestries, loaned by the French government and picturing "The Hunt in France." It was called by the critics a unique painting in a beautiful frame.
In the days of Francis I and his sons, the royal hunt was given a great impetus by Catherine de Medici, wife of Henri II.
Francis, in company with his sons, had gone to Marseilles to meet the Medici bride, who was on her way to make her home at the Paris Louvre, and when he found her possessed of so lively manners and such great intelligence he became so charmed with her that, it is said, he danced with her all of the first evening. What pleased the monarch even more, and perhaps not less his sons, was that she shot with an arquebuse like a sharpshooter, and could ride to hounds like a natural-born Amazon. She was more than a rival, as it afterwards proved, of that arch-huntress, Diane de Poitiers.
History recounts in detail that last royal hunt of Francis I at Rambouillet, when he was lying near to death, the guest of his old friend, d'Angennes.
The old manor, half hunting-lodge, half fortress, and very nearly royal in all its appointments, proved a comfortable enough rest-house, and on the day after his arrival, in March, 1547, the monarch commanded the preparations for a royal hunt to commence at daybreak in the neighbouring forest.
The equipage started forth in full ceremonial on the quest of stag and boar. The bugles blew and a sort of stimulated courage once more entered the king's breast, courage born of the excitement around him, the baying of the hounds and the tramping and neighing of impatient horses. He had forced himself from his bed and on horseback and started off with the rest, defying the better counsel of his retainers.
His strength proved to be born of a fictitious enthusiasm, and, speedily losing interest, he was brought back to the manor where he had his apartments, and put speechless and half dead to bed, actually dying the next day from this last over-exertion, scarce half a century of the span of his life accomplished.
Henri de Navarre also was a true lover of the open. Born in a mountain town in the Pyrenees he would rather camp on a bed of pine needles in the forest than lie on a tuft of down. He preferred his beloved Bayonne ham, spiced with garlic, to a sumptuous dinner in Jarnet house, a famous Paris tavern of the day; and had rather quench his thirst with a quaff of the wine of Jurancon than the finest cru in Paris cellars.
He hated the parade of courts, was dirty, unkempt and careless, a genuine son of the soil, heedless of fate, and an excellent huntsman.
Up to the seventeenth century the ladies of the French court showed a keener interest for falconry than for the hunt by horse and hounds.
The heroines of the Fronde, and the generation which followed, seemed to lose interest in this form of sport, and gave their favour to packs of hounds, and followed with equal interest the hunt for deer, wolves, boars, foxes and hares as they were tracked through forests and over arid wastes.
The old hunting horn, the winding horn of romance, still exists at the hunts of France, a relic of the days of Louis XIV. It sounds the conventional comings and goings of the huntsmen in the same classic phraseology as of old—the lancer, the bien allee, the vue, the changement de foret, the accompagne, the bat l'eau, the hallali par terre, and the curee.
The "Curee aux Flambeaux" was one of the most picturesque ceremonies connected with the royal hunt in France. It began in the gallant days, and lived even until the time of the Second Empire.
The curee, that is the giving up to the hounds the remains of an animal slain in chase, does not always take place at night, but when it does the torches play the part of impressive and picturesque accessories. When a curee takes place at the spot where the animal is actually killed the French sporting term for the ceremony is "force et abattu." This, however, is usually preceded by another called "le pied," which consists in cutting off one of the feet of the dead animal and offering it to the person in whose honor the hunt was held.
When the curee takes place by torchlight the body of the animal is carried beneath the windows of the chateau, a circle is formed by the "piqueurs," or head hunters, and all who have participated in the pursuit; and, to the sound of a trumpet, loaned by the sportsmen, one of the valets de venerie cuts up the stag. The meutes, that is to say, the hounds which are let slip last of all, and which terminates the chase—are then brought by the valet des chiens, who has great difficulty in keeping them from breaking loose. When the entrails have been cut away the valet sits astride the animal, holding up the nappe, or head and neck, shaking it at the already furious hounds. It is the care of the valet during this interval to conceal the pieces of flesh which are still under the body. The hounds are then loosened, but are kept within bounds by the whips of the piqueurs and the valet des chiens. When the dogs are sufficiently exasperated the brutes are allowed to rush upon the remains of their victim; only, however, to be driven back again by whipping. When their docility has thus been proven the definite signal, "lachez tout," is given, and the hounds rush towards the stag.
The curee then presents a savage spectacle: the air is filled with growling, barking and yelling, while the ground is covered with scrambling dogs, their mouths reeking with blood.
The feminine costume for the hunt in the time of Louis XIII was of broadcloth or velvet, with a great feather-ornamented "picture" hat. Only now and again a lady on horseback after 1650 dared borrow doublet and jacket, and mount astride.
The ladies followed the hunt of Louis XIV on horseback, seldom, if ever, in the older manner of sitting behind their cavalier on the same steed. From the time of Catherine de Medici, indeed, the Italian side-saddle had become the fashion for women.
Under Louis XV the ladies sought a little more comfort, and followed the equipage sitting in a sort of hamper-like, diminutive basket, hung from the broad back of a sturdy quadruped. Dresses became more fanciful, both in materials and colours. From this it was but a step to even more elaborate toilettes which necessitated a conveyance of some sort on wheels, but the most intrepid still clung to the traditionally classic methods. Marie Antoinette had her equipage de chasse, and Madame Durfort was constantly abroad in the forests of Montmorency and Boissy, directing the operation of eight or ten professional huntsmen. Among her guests were frequently the ambassadors of Prussia, Russia and Austria.
In the time of Louis XIV the Comtesse de Lude devoted herself to the hunt with a frenzy born of an inordinate enthusiasm. At the head of a pack of hounds she knew no obstacle, and, on one occasion, penetrated on horseback, followed by her dogs, into the oratory of the nuns of the Convent of Estival.
By the end of the seventeenth century the hunt in France had become no more a sport for ladies. Hunting was still a noble sport, but it was more for men than for women. The court hunted not only in royal company, but accepted invitations from any seigneur who possessed an ample preserve and who could put up a good kill; magistrates, financiers and bishops, indeed all classes, became followers of the hunt.
Montgaillard tells of a hunt in which he took part on the feast day of Saint Bernard, with the monks of the Bernardin Convent in Languedoc. In the episcopal domain of Saverne six hundred beaters were employed on one occasion to provide sport for an assembled company of lords and ladies. These were the days when the bishops were in truth Grand Seigneurs.
The women of the court, while they played the game, ceded nothing to the men in bravery. Neither rain, hail nor snow frightened them. On the 28th of June, 1713, Louis XIV was hunting the deer at Rambouillet when a terrific, cyclonic storm fell upon the equipage, but not a man nor woman in the monarch's party quit. The Duchesse de Berry was "wet to the skin," but her ardour for the hunt was not in the least cooled.
To-day at Fontainebleau or Rambouillet the echo is sounded from the hunting horn of Labaudy, the sugar-king, who pulls off at least two "hunts," with his spectacular equipage, each year, and it is a sight too; a French hunting party was ever picturesque, and if to-day not as practical as the more blood-loving Englishman's hunt, is at least traditionally sentimental, even artificial to the extent, at any rate, that it seems stagy, even to the inclusion of the automobiles which bring and carry away the participants. "Other days, other ways" never had a more strict application than to la chasse a courre in France.
Two accounts are here given of two comparatively modern figures in the French hunting field, which show the great store set by the sport in France.
In the annals of the Chateau de Grosbois, belonging to-day to the Prince de Wagram, are the accounts of an early nineteenth century hunt, which shows that the game cost dear. The "Grand Veneur" of the Napoleonic reign was a master sportsman, indeed, and to-day, in a gallery of the chateau, are preserved the guns of the master, his hunting crop and saddle, his "colours" and his hunting horn.
From the registers of the chateau, under date of December 10, 1809, the following, which concerned a hunting party given by the chatelain, is extracted verbatim.
Note of the Maitre d'Hotel for collations for the guests 8,226 francs
Illuminations 1,080 francs
Gratifications to the beaters 1,000 francs
Eau de Cologne for the ladies 30 francs
Gun-bearers 148 francs
Helpers (150) 600 francs
Aids (200) 315 francs
Another hunt was given in 1811, in honour of Napoleon, when such items as three thousand francs for an orchestra, a like sum for bouquets for the ladies, a thousand or two for bonbons and fans, and twelve thousand for hired furniture, etc., to say nothing of the expenses of the hunt itself, made the bag somewhat costly. It was not always easy for the master of the hunt to get justice when it came to paying for his supplies, and in these same records a mention of a dozen leather breeches at a hundred and forty francs each was crossed off and a marginal note, Non, added in the hand of Marechal Berthier, Prince de Wagram, himself.
The chief figure in the French hunting world of to-day is another descendant of the Napoleonic portrait gallery, Prince Murat. At the age of twelve the young Prince Joachim had already followed the hounds at Fontainebleau and Compiegne. In his double quality of relative and companion of the Prince Imperial he was one of the chiefs of the equipment of the Imperial Hunt. To-day, though well past the span of life, he is as active and as enduring in his participation in the strenuous sport as many a younger man and his knowledge of the grand art of venerie, and his ardour for being always ahead with the hounds, is noted by all who may happen to see him while jaunting through the Foret de Compiegne, keeping well up with the traditions of his worthy elder, the "Premier Cavalier" of the First Empire, the King of Naples.
He won his first stripes in the hunting field at Compiegne in 1868, at a hunt given in honour of the Prince de Hohenzollern and the Princesse, who was the sister of the King of Portugal. It was a most moving event, so much so that it just escaped being turned into a drama, for one of the ladies of the court had a leg broken, and the minister, Fould, was almost mortally injured. A "dix cors," a stag with antlers of ten branches, had been run down at the Rond Royal where it had taken refuge in a near-by copse, and after an hour's hard chase was finally cornered in the courtyard of some farm buildings of the Hameau d'Orillets. A troop of cows was entering the courtyard at the same moment, and a most confused melee ensued. The Inspector of Forests saved the situation and the cows of the farmer, and the stag fell to the carabine of Prince de la Moskowa, with the young Prince Murat on his pony in the very front rank.
Thus early initiated in the chivalrous sport of the hunt the young man followed every hunt, big or little, which was held in the environs of Paris for many years, and by the time that he came to possess the epaulettes of an Officier de Cuirassiers he was known to all the hunts from the Ardennes to Anjou.
For the past generation he has been retired to civil life by a Republican decree, and since that time has lived in his suburban Paris property, devoting himself to the raising of hunters. Here he lives almost on the borders of that great extent of forest which occupies the northern section of the Ile de France, occasionally organizing a hunt, which takes on not a little of the noble aspect of a former time, the prince following always within sound of the hunting horn and the baying of the hounds, if not actually always within sight of the quarry.
It is here, in his Villa Normande, near which Saint Ouen gave Dagobert that famous counsel which has gone down in history, that the Prince and Princesse Murat come to pass two or three months each year with their children, their allied parents and the "great guns" of the old regime who still gather about the master of the hunt as courtiers gather around their king.
At Chamblay there have been held magnificent gun shoots under the organization of the prince and his equipage. His kennels contain forty-eight of the finest bred hounds in France, and are guarded by three caretakers, the goader, Carl, whose fame has reached every hunting court of Europe and a couple of valets des chiens. The prince's colours are distributed as follows: a huzzar jacket of blue, with collar, plaquettes, and vest of grenadine and breeches of a darker blue.
Formerly Prince Murat hunted the roe-deer in the valley of the Oise, but many enclosures of private property having made this exceedingly difficult in later years he is to-day obliged to go farther afield. In the spring the equipage goes to Rosny, near Mantes, and perhaps during the same season occasionally to Rambouillet.
The hunts at Chamblay are the perfection of the practice of the art. Seldom is the quarry wanting. The refrain of the Ode to Saint Hubert lauds the prowess of this great "Maitre d'Equipage."
"Par Saint Hubert mon patron C'est quelque due de haut renom * * * Sonnez: ecuyers et piqueux Un Murat vien en ces lieux."
Chamblay fortunately being neither populous nor near a great town there is no throng of curious spectators hovering about to get in the way and scare the game and the hounds and their followers out of their wits. The Chasse de Chamblay is the devotion of the vrais veneurs; the Prince Murat and his son, the Prince Joachim, (to-day at the military school at Saint Cyr), the Prince Eugene Murat, the Comte de Vallon, the Baron de Neuflize and a few famous veneurs in gay uniforms come from afar to give eclat to the hunt of the master. And the ladies: the following names are of those devoted to the prowess of the Prince Murat—Madame la Princesse, la Princesse Marguerite Murat, Mademoiselle d'Elchingen, the Duchesse and the Marquise d'Albufera, the Duchesse de Camestra, and Madame Kraft.
From this one sees that romance is not all smouldering. If other proof were wanting a perusal of that most complete and interesting account of the hunt in France in modern times, "Les Chasses de Rambouillet" (Ouvrage offert par Monsieur Felix Faure) would soon establish it. This was not a work destined for the public at large. The hunt was ever a sport of kings in France, and though France has become Republican its Chasse Nationale at Rambouillet partakes not a little of the aspect of those courtly days when there was less up-to-dateness and more sentiment.
There were but one hundred copies of this work printed for the friends of the late president of the Republic—"Other Sovereigns," as the dedication reads, "Princes, Grand Dukes, Ambassadors."
Rambouillet was the theatre of the most splendid hunts of the sixteenth century, and down through the ages it has ever held a preeminent place; holds it to-day even. Louis XVI in the Revolutionary torment even regretted the cutting off of his prerogative of the royal hunt, but he had no choice in the matter. In his journal of 1789 one reads: "the cerf runs alone in the Parc en Bas" (Rambouillet), and again in 1790: "Seance of the National Assembly at noon; Audience of a deputation in the afternoon. The deer plentiful at Gambayseuil."
The Revolution felled many French institutions; low, great, ecclesiastical and monarchial monuments, the trees of the forest, and the royal game, by a system of poaching, had become greatly diminished in quantity.
The nineteenth century, so frankly democratic in its latter years, was less favourable to the hunt than the monarchial days which had gone before. It had a considerable prominence under Charles X, more perhaps than it ever had under Napoleon, who in his infancy and laborious adolescence had few opportunities of following it; and in the later years of his life he was too busy.
Napoleon III was not really a "good hunter," though he was something of a marksman and took a considerable pride in his skill in that accomplishment.
Entering the democratic era, Jules Grevy seems to have been only a pot-hunter of the bourgeoisie, who practiced the art only because he wanted a jugged hare for his dinner, or again simply to kill time.
Sadi-Carnot was still less a hunter of the romantic school, but assisted frequently at the ceremonial shootings which were arranged for visiting monarchs. On one occasion he was put down on the record-sheet of a hunt at Rambouillet as responsible only for the death of eighteen heads, whilst a visiting Grand Duke pulled down a hundred and fifty.
It was notably during the presidency of Felix Faure that Rambouillet again took on its animation of former times. The chateau had been furbished up once more after a long sleep, and, to the great satisfaction of the inhabitants of the town, there were more comings and goings than there had been for a quarter of a century.
In the summer and autumn the president made Rambouillet his preferred residence, and there received many visiting sovereigns and notables of all ranks. In one year a score of "Official Hunts" were held, to which all the members of the diplomatic corps were invited, while there were two or three affairs of an "International" character in honour of visiting sovereigns.
All was under the control of the Grand Veneur of the Third Republic, the Comte de Girardin, and while a truly royal flavour may have been lacking the general aspect was much the same as it might have been in the days of the monarchy. The Captain of the Hunt under Felix Faure was the Inspector of Forests, Leddet, and the Premier Veneur was the Commandant Lagarenne.
The president himself was a marksman of the first rank, and never was there a reckoning up of the tableau but that he was near the head of the list. So accomplished was he with the rifle that on more than one occasion he was obliged to practically efface himself in favour of some visiting monarch, as it was said he did in the case of the King of Portugal in 1895, the Grand Ducs Vladimir and Nicolas in 1896.
Huntsmen not royal by virtue of title, or alliance, the Republican president beat to a stand-still. He had no pity nor favour for a mere ambassador, whether he hailed from England or Germany, nor for members of the Institute, Senators nor Deputies. With Prince Albert of Monaco he held himself equal, and for every bird shot on the wing by the head of the house of Grimaldi the "longshoreman" of Havre brought down another.
La chasse a courre before the law in France to-day may be practiced only under strictly laid down conditions. The huntsman must legally have his dogs under such control, and keep sufficiently close to them, as to be able to recover the quarry immediately after it has been closed in upon by the hounds.
Like shooting, since the Decree of 1844, hunting with hounds may only be undertaken under authority of a permis de chasse, and in open season, during the daytime, and with the consent of the owners over whose properties the hunt is to be held.
The ceremony of the hunt in France now follows the traditions of the classic hunt of the monarchy. The veneur decides on the rendezvous, whether the quarry be stag or chevreuil, fox or hare. The piqueur follows close up with the dogs, sets them on or calls them off, and recalls them if they go off on a false scent.
THE PALAIS DE LA CITE AND TOURNELLES
Not every one assumes the Paris Palais de Justice to ever have been the home of kings and queens. It has not, however, always been a tilting ground for lawyers and criminals, though, no doubt, when one comes to think of it, it is in that role that it has acted its most thrilling episodes.
The Saint Chapelle, the Conciergerie and the great clock of the Tour de l'Horloge mark the Palais de Justice down in the books of most folk as one of the chief Paris "sights," but it was as a royal residence that it first came into prominence.
This palace, not the conglomerate half-secular, half-religious pile of to-day, but an edifice of some considerable importance, existed from the earliest days of the Frankish invasion, and when occupied by Clotilde, the wife of Clovis, was known as the Palais de la Cite.
Under the last of the kings of the First Race this palace took on really splendid proportions. When Hugues Capet arrived on the throne he abandoned the kingly residence formerly occupied by the Frankish rulers, the Palais des Thermes, and installed his goods and chattels in this Palais de la Cite, which his son Robert had rebuilt under the direction of Enguerrand de Marigny.
Up to the time of Francis I it remained the preferred residence of the French monarchs, regardless of the grander, more luxuriously disposed Louvre, which had come into being.
Philippe Auguste, by a contrary caprice, would transact no kingly business elsewhere, and it was within the walls of this palace that he married Denmark's daughter. His successors, Saint Louis, Philippe-le-Hardi, and Philippe-le-Bel did their part in enlarging and beautifying the structure, and Saint Louis laid the foundations of that peerless Gothic gem—La Saint Chapelle.
From the windows of the Palais de la Cite another Charles assisted at an official massacre, differing little from that of Saint Bartholemew's, which was conducted from the Louvre.
On the first floor of the Palais de Justice of to-day is the apartment paved in a mosaic of black and white marble, with a painted and gilded wooden vaulting, where Charles V received the Emperor Charles IV and the "Roi des Romains." The three monarchs, accompanied by their families, here supped together around a great round marble table, a secret supper prolific of an entente cordiale which must have been the forerunner of recent ceremonies of a similar nature in France.
Known as the Salle de Marbre, this great chamber came later to be the Tribunal where the courts sat. It was only after the death of Charles VI, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, that the Palais de la Cite was given over wholly to the disciples of Saint Yves, the judges, advocates and notaries. It became also the definite seat of the Parliament and took the nomenclature of Palais de Justice, though still inhabited at intermittent intervals by French royalties. One such notable occasion was that when Henry V of England was here married to Catherine de France, and when Henry VI of England took up his temporary residence here as king to the French.
In the fourteenth century the precincts of the Palais de la Cite—the open courtyard one assumes is meant—were invaded by the stalls of small shopkeepers, some of which actually took root in wood and stone and became fixtures to such an extent that the courtyard was known as the Galerie des Merciers.
The great marble chamber after becoming the meeting place of the Tribunal played a part at times dignified and at others banal. An incident is recorded where the clerks and minor court officials danced on the famous marble table and "played farces" with the judicial bench serving as a stage. It was said that, on account of the immoralities which they represented, the authorities were obliged to suppress the performances by law, as they have in recent years the flagrant freedom of the "Quat'z Arts."
Up to the times of Francis I but few events of importance unrolled themselves within the Palais de la Cite, but in 1618 a violent conflagration broke out leaving only the round towers of the Conciergerie, the tower and the church, and that part of the main structure which housed the great Salle de Marbre, unharmed. Apropos of this, a joyous rhymester of the time made the following quatrain:
"Certes ce fut un triste jeu Quand a Paris Dame Justice Pour avoir mange trop d'epice Se mit le Palais tout en feu."
Jacques Debrosse was charged with rebuilding the edifice after the fire and refitted first the Grand Salle, to-day the famous Salle des Pas Perdus, crowded with the shuffling coming and going crowd of men and women whose business, or no business at all, brings them to this central point for the dissemination of legal gossip. It is a magnificent apartment, and, to no great extent, differs from what it was before the conflagration.
This Salle consists of two parallel naves separated by a range of arcades and lighted by two great circular openings with four round-headed windows at either end. Its attributes are practically the same as they were in 1622. The structure, take it as a whole, may be said to date only from the seventeenth century, but certain it is that the old Palais de la Cite is incorporated therein, every stone of it, and if its career was humdrum that was the fault of circumstances rather than from any inherent faults of its own.
The Conciergerie, that inelegant, inconsistent architectural mixture of the ancient and modern, considered apart, though it properly enough is usually considered with the Palais de Justice, was formerly the dwelling or guardhouse of the Concierge of the Palais de la Cite. His post was not merely that of the keeper of the gates; he was a personage at court and was as autocratic as his more plebeian contemporaries of to-day, for the Paris concierge, as we, who have for years lived under their despotism well know, is a very dreadful person.
In addition to being the governor of the royal dwelling this concierge was the guardian of the royal prisoners. In 1348 he was further invested with the official title of Bailli and the post was, at times, occupied by the highest and the most noble in the land, among others Philippe de Savoie, the friend of Charles VI, and Juvenal des Oursins, the historian of this prince. The first to combine the two functions, that of Bailli and Concierge, was Jacques Coictier, the doctor of Louis XI.
As a virtual prison the Conciergerie only came to be transformed when Charles V quitted the residence of the Palais de la Cite, and the Conciergerie, as such, only figures on the Tournelles registers under date of 1391.
The fire of the latter part of the eighteenth century destroyed a large part of the building, but enough remained to patch together the most serviceable of Revolutionary prisons, for at one time it held at least twelve hundred poor souls, of whom two hundred and eighty-eight were killed off at one fell blow.
But one woman among them all actually came to her death within the prison walls. This was La Belle Bouquetiere of the Palais Royal who, in an access of jealous furor, horribly mutilated a royal guardsman, and for this met a most cruel death by being transfixed to a post and submitting to a trial of "le fer et le feu." In just what manner the punishment was applied one can best imagine for himself.
The Revolutionary role of the Conciergerie is a thing apart from the purport of this book, hence is not further referred to.
Going back to the time of Francis I, among the famous prisoners of state were Louis de Berquin, the Comte de Mongomere, the regicides Ravaillac and Damiens, the Marechal d'Ancre, Cartouche, Mandrin and others. To-day, as a prison, the Conciergerie still performs its functions acceptably, safeguarding those up for the assizes, and those condemned to death before being sent on their long journey.
The three great flanking towers of the Conciergerie are its chief architectural distinction to-day. That of the left, the largest, is the Tour d'Argent, that of the middle, the Tour Bonchet, and the third, the Tour de Cesar or the Tour de l'Horloge. This last is the only one which has preserved its mediaeval crenulated battlements aloft. The great clock has been commonly considered the largest timepiece of its kind extant, but it is doubtful if this now holds good with railways and insurance companies vying with each other to furnish the hour so legibly that he who runs may read.
Across the Pont au Change, from the Palais de la Cite, by the Louvre and out into the Faubourg Saint Antoine, one comes to the Place des Vosges, the old Place Royale, which occupies almost the same area as was covered by the courtyard of the Palais des Tournelles, so called from its many towers.
All around the Palais des Tournelles was located a series of splendid hotels prives of the nobility. In one of these, the Hotel de Saint Pol, the king once lodged twenty-two visiting princes of the quality of Dauphin (the eldest son of a ruling monarch), their suites and domestics.
Charles V in his time amalgamated with his royal palace three of these magnificent private dwellings, the Hotel du Petit Musc, the Hotel de l'Abbe de Saint Maur and the Hotel du Comte d'Etampes.
The palace proper really faced on what is now the Rue Saint Antoine, opposite the Hotel Saint Pol. Its historic and romantic memories of the sword and cloak period of gallantry were many, but the edifice was demolished by the order of Catherine de Medici.
In the palace Charles VI was confined, during the period of his insanity, by order of the cruel Isabeau de Baviere. The Duke of Bedford, when regent for the minor Henry VI, lodged here, and upon the expulsion of the English it became the residence of Charles VII. Louis XI and Louis XII each inhabited it, and the latter died within its walls.
The Palais des Tournelles will go down to history chiefly because of that celebrated jousting bout held in its courtyard on the marriage day of the two princesses, Elizabeth and Marguerite.
Henri II and the elder princes, his sons, were to ride forth in tournament and break lances, if possible, with all comers. The court, including Catherine de Medici and the princess Elizabeth, wife of Philippe II, the late husband of Mary Tudor, the two Marguerites and other high personages were seated on a dais upholstered in damascened silk and ornamented with many-coloured streamers.
The time was July and the morning. At a signal from Catherine music burst forth and the bouts began.
The king rode forth at the head of his chevaliers, wearing a suit of golden armour, his sword handle set with jewels, and, in spite of the presence of his wife, his lance flying black and white streamers, the colours of Diane de Poitiers, who had lately turned her affections from father unto son.
A herald proclaimed the opening of the combat, and before night the king had broken the lances of the Ducs de Ferrare, de Guise, and de Nemours, and was just about disarming when a masked knight approached from the Faubourg Saint Antoine and challenged the king, who, in spite of being implored to desist by his queen, entered the lists again and was ultimately wounded unto death by the sable knight.
Henri II expired the same night in a bedchamber of the Palais des Tournelles, whither he had been carried, at the age of forty-one, the victim of chance, or the wile of the Sieur de Montgomeri, the ancestor of England's present Earl of Eglinton. The captain of the Scotch Guards, Montgomeri, was not immediately pursued (he meantime had fled the court), but Catherine de Medici harboured for him a most bitter rancour. Pro and con ran his cause, for he had his partisans, but the Marechal de Matignon finally caught up with him in Normandy and he was tortured and condemned to death for the crime of lese majeste—beating the king at his own game.
The widowed queen angrily ordered Diane de Poitiers from the court, and caused the Palais des Tournelles to be razed. This was her only means of showing her contempt for the woman who had played her royal spouse to his death as the Romans played the gladiators of old; and Tournelles, as a palatial monument of its time, blotted out the rest when it disappeared from view.
A forest of spirelets soared aloft from the gables and rooftrees of the Palais des Tournelles. There was no spectacle of the time more imposing than this sky-line silhouette of a Paris palace; not at Chambord nor Chenonceaux was the spectacle more fine. It was like a fairy castle, albeit that it was in the heart of a great city.
To the right of the Palais des Tournelles, beyond the Porte Saint Antoine, was the ink-black, frowning donjon of the Bastille, its severity in strong contrast with the more luxurious palaces of the princes which surrounded it not far away.
The charming Place des Vosges, which occupies the site of Tournelles to-day, is another of Paris's breathing spaces. Well may it be called a royal garden—a park virtually on a diminutive scale—since it was originally known as the Place Royale, under Henri IV.
With the advent of the gascon Henri de Bearn this delightful little unspoiled corner of old Paris took on the aspect which it now has. Within this enclosure were the usual garden or park attributes, more or less artificially disposed, but making an ideal open-air playground for the court, shut in from outside surroundings by the outlines of the old palace walls, and not too far away from the royal palace of the Louvre.
The first and greatest historic souvenir of this garden was a Carrousel given in 1612, by Marie de Medici, two years after the tragic death of Henri IV, celebrating the alliance between France and Spain. Under Richelieu the square became known as the Place des Vosges, and, in spite of the law against duelling, which had by this time come into force, it became a celebrated meeting place for duellists like Ivry, the "Grand' Roue" or the "Vel' Hiver" of to-day.