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Asparagus and lettuce: a French poem for Lanniron castle

F. de Coetlogon | Public domain
Castle Jean de La Fontaine François de Coëtlogon Lanniron castle

Summer like winter

Lanniron was bishops of Quimper's estate, summer like winter. In the 15th century, Mr de Rosmadec (a famous Breton family we also meet in their manor of Plessis-Josso) raised a brand new castle.

He and his successors extended their estate: they even overlapped with nearby villages, destroying houses in order to make themselves comfortably.

Lanniron became a real palace for bishops, who laid out their study, their own chapel and an orangery.

A poem for Lanniron

French verses for a garden

In the 17th century, François de Coëtlogon landscaped the gardens. Near the Odet banks, he created amazing terraces and cascades which tumbled down the river!

François loved art, nice and gorgeous stuffs, gardens… Here he created a masterpiece: in 1790, a doctor from Vannes, Nicolas de Bonnecamp, wrote a poem about those amazing gardens, Les jardins de Lanniron décrits en vers françois, “Gardens of Lanniron described with French verses”. 432 verses, exactly!

"Que Lanniron me plaît ! Et que ses avenues, Pour leur rare beauté, méritent d'être vues : c'est l'ouvrage achevé d'un illustre Prélat, De qui ce lieu charmant emprunte son éclat : Tout y brille par lui, puisque par sa présence, Qui sert à ses jardins d'une douce influence, On voit naître les fleurs, on voit mûrir les fruits..."

It’s nice because we can imagine Lanniron in the 17th century… He described « le charmant château, Où rien n'est de plus propre, où rien n'est de plus beau », “the pretty castle, where nothing is too beautiful”.

White nectarine and salsify

He cultivated plenty of things, here. “The Peach and Apricot, the Pear and White Nectarine. The Plum, the Muscat grape”.

He also cultivated “violets, iris, jasmines, May lilies”, “grapes from La Ciotat, asparagus, artichokes, the royal cabbages and the hot salsifys.”

A muddy Coëtlogon!

One day, François de Coëtlogon told to the royal Court in Versailles how he get stuck in the mud on a muddy Breton road.

Famous French writer La Fontaine wrote a fable about that, Le charretier embourbé, “The Mired Carter”, which begins like that:

“The carter saw his cart stuck in the mud. The poor man was far away from the town. It was in the countryside, near a place in Brittany called Quimper-Corentin…”

Harrington and Lanniron

Then, what happened? Bad news! The French Revolution expelled bishops from their palace...

They seized the estate. In 1824, the new owner, Emmanuel Calixte Harrington, transformed the castle. In the middle of the façade, he added a peristyle with Ionic columns; a new wing was raised.

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!