The Chartreuses of the castle

The chartreuses are a rare architectural structure in France. They are open-air rooms located on a terrace overlooking the canals, linked together by a succession of arcades.
The walls, about 4 metres high, were designed to create a succession of microclimates allowing the fruit to be spread out over time while giving it the best ripening conditions.

This type of architecture is similar to that of the Potager du Roi in Versailles or the Murs à pêches in Montreuil, created by the great gardener La Quintinie in the 17th century.
Spread over 4,000 m2 and nestled in the high walls of the Carthusian monasteries, five gardens evoke the evolution of the art of gardening in France. Passing from one garden to another, one goes from one era to another.

Bouquetier Garden

Along the canal, in the shade of a bald cypress and an American oak, there is a long rectangular bed of perennials: these are herbaceous plants that flower for several years. Each year their stems and flowers die and are reborn in the summer. These plants are of different heights, with staggered flowering, so that there is always a variety in full bloom.


Carved Vergé

Planted according to a classical design, one enters through a pathway surmounted by arcades of pear trees and punctuated by fruit trees in columns. It presents the techniques developed in the 17th century by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie in the Potager du Roi in Versailles. It consists of multiple fruit forms: candelabra, fan, double cordons, U or double U palmettes. Whether free or trellised, their perfectly balanced structure and reduced vegetation allow light to pass through, allowing the sap to nourish all the fruits, which will be larger and more colourful.

Meditation Garden

A woven wicker enclosure surrounds a yew house and its garden of box and germander beds. On the wall, a fresco, inspired by Giotto's, depicts Saint Francis of Assisi talking to the birds. It pays tribute to four people who have each played their part in the recent history of Ainay: "Georges-Henri the friend of birds, Géraud the poet, Jeanne the soul of the place and Jean-Pierre the nature lover". Leaving the enclosure, one enters a quincunx of mulberry trees surrounding a basin whose water, symbol of life, flows from a fountain.
The atmosphere of this garden, its fresco bathed in light, the water coming from the deep shade of the mulberry trees, are an invitation to meditation.

Cloisters of the Simples

The Charterhouse is surrounded by a Renaissance-style promenade of lime trees in a series of arcades linked by a canopy of vegetation.

Between the walkway of this cloister and the outer walls, a collection of plants is laid out in tiles. There is a selection of medicinal, condiment, dye and honey plants.
The heady-smelling curry and the dye plant woad evoke the countless plants imported into France during the Renaissance. Surrounding the well, apple trees pruned into wheels, superimposed trays or May trees evoke the fashion of this period when people liked to give beautiful but unusual shapes to shrubs.

Embroidery Beds

This charterhouse evokes the great era of French gardens, which reached their peak in the 17th century under the impetus of Le Nôtre. One of their characteristics, the "parterres de broderie", are like a carpet spread out in front of the castle as an extension of elegance and wealth. Another important feature is the trellis, a sumptuous decoration first created by Le Nôtre for the King at Versailles, which later became fashionable in all the gardens of the Lords at that time. Here the parterre of embroidery describes volutes and reproduces fleur-de-lis. In the boxwood borders, white roses bloom abundantly. The central pool is made of yew trees. The trellis stands theatrically before the perspective of the canals.