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Parc de la Colombière • 21000 Dijon
The park was created in the 16C by Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, Governor of Burgundy and known as the Great Condé. It was further developed by his grandson, Henri-Jules, Duc d’Enghien, who laid out the park and planted it with trees before building the Castel de la Colombière on the other bank of the river Ouche. The river’s course was then straightened and a little footbridge linked the Castel to the gardens. The gardens themselves bear the imprint of Le Nôtre who dispatched one of his best students, Antoine de Maerle, to Dijon for the purpose.
The park is laid out in the formal style, true to the principles of perspective and symmetry decreed by the Master. From a central circle in the perspective of the Castel, eight wide and eight narrow paths fan out around the park. The paths are connected to each other by an octagonal path running around the wood, and eventually come to a stop against two avenues constituting the limits of the park.
The original plantations included yew and spruce trees, honeysuckle, perennial sunflowers and lilacs. In 1683, 10,000 arbours and 500 clumps of boxwood were planted out, accompanied the following year by 8000 hornbeams and 200 lilacs, and in 1685 by 140 spruce trees and the same number of yews. The park had by this time virtually assumed its definitive shape, with the wood and borders lined by yews pruned in a chequered pattern.
The park was acquired by the Municipality after the French Revolution. In 1811 an elliptic bridle path was added, together with another bridle path through the undergrowth. The paths encircled the main thoroughfare used by carriages to form a large square (sides of 500 metres). The trees were allowed to grow and the park gradually took on a somewhat unkempt aspect. In 1843, an iron gate was added to the main entrance along with the toll houses of Place Saint-Bernard.
The municipal authorities lavish much care on the park which became a listed historical monument in 1925. The paths are regularly sanded in order to accentuate the original layout, the remains of an old Roman road are carefully restored and a reforestation plan has been established.
In 1965, the 17C Temple of Love, a historical monument from the Château de Bierre-lès-Sémur, was re-erected in the park.
The wood has been completely restored since 1978 and now includes 6000 trees: some 1600 deciduous trees (lime, chestnut, oak, hornbeam, ash, maple) and over 100 evergreens. The central path is occupied by a vast lawn leading to a children’s playground and an animal enclosure, created in 1970.
La Colombière is the most popular and largest park in the immediate vicinity of Dijon.
Historical interest: remains of the Via Agrippa, the Roman road running through the middle of the park, the 17C Temple of Love, sundial erected in 1827.
Layout: circular path, 16 star-configuration paths intersected by an octagonal path, central path.
Vegetation: 6000 trees, numerous flower beds, wild flowers.
Facilities: Children’s playground (access for handicapped children), animal enclosures, refreshments, toilets and water taps, various activities.