The Domaine of Villarceaux is a French château, water garden and park located in the commune of Chaussy. The gardens are located on the site of a medieval castle from the 11th century, built to protect France from the British, who at that time occupied Normandy, the neighboring province. Many vestiges of the medieval fortifications remain in the park. A manor house and French water garden was built there in the 17th century. In the 18th century a château in the style of Louis XV was built on a rocky hill overlooking the water garden.
One famous resident in the 17th century was Ninon de Lenclos, the author, courtesan, and patron of the arts. Another was Françoise d'Aubigné, the future Madame de Maintenon and future wife of King Louis XIV, who lived there after the death of her first husband, the poet Paul Scarron, at the invitation of her friends the Montchevreuil, cousins of the Marquis of Villarceaux. The Marquis fell in love with her, and commissioned a full-length portrait of her, nude, which greatly embarrassed her. The portrait can be seen today in the dining room of the house. The house also contains a collection of 18th-century furniture.
The domaine is part of the regional park of Vexin, and is used for concerts and cultural events. The gardens are classified among the Notable Gardens of France.
The gardens contain a rare 18th-century ornamental feature called a vertugadin, modelled after the hoop skirts of the 18th century, surrounded by statues brought from Italy.References:
Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite.
The placename Aquhorthies derives from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'field of prayer', and may indicate a 'long continuity of sanctity' between the Stone or Bronze Age circle builders and their much later Gaelic successors millennia later. The circle's surroundings were landscaped in the late 19th century, and it sits within a small fenced and walled enclosure. A stone dyke, known as a roundel, was built around the circle some time between 1847 and 1866–7.