The Château de Chantilly is surrounded by a park designed by André Le Nôtre. It is 115 hectares wide, of which 25 hectares are covered with fountains. 

‘Chantilly is devoted to the effects of water, minus the symbolic intervention of sculptures (as in Versailles) and minus the artifice of fountains themselves. At Chantilly it is the natural reflective qualities of the pools – creating fragmented, anamorphic visions on their uneven and undulating surfaces – that constitute that garden’s dominant spectacle, where a distorted yet ever beautified version of nature is created. In fact, Chantilly may be considered to be a gigantic catoptrics machine.


Here Le Nôtre comes closest to achieving the literal effect of the garden as microcosm  ̶  the world is transformed into its representation, temporarily contained in the crystalline structure of water. Yet this microcosm is not a closed symbolic system, but rather an open spectacular field, where the world is not only symbolically transformed, but especially catoptrically distorted. Here, the spectacle consists of the evanescent effects of eternal natural forms captured through the artifice of the most simple aquatic effects of landscape architecture’. 

Allen S. Weiss