This park, covering 28 hectares, is certainly one of the most beautiful in all Bordeaux, and here the centuries have also left their mark. A nature preserve is crossed by tree-lined lanes following a rigorous design created in the 1700s. A century later, Louis-Bernard Fischer, a renowned botanist who created Bordeaux’s Public Gardens, redesigned the park and the area surrounding the château. A veritable botanical fairyland, Cantemerle’s park is home to numerous rare species. Waterlands of romantic charm contribute to the domain’s extraordinary, magical atmosphere. After passing the Chalet at the park’s entrance and traveling the long alley of Macau, the first scene encountered in the main courtyard appears: the “Twins”, two immense plane trees whose powerful branches form a 50-meter-high canopy which seems to shelter the château building. Planted by design, their individual destinies were long ago conjoined as they interlaced their roots in a lovers’ knot. A short distance apart is another tree of note, the “Solitaire”, whose trunk is over 6 meters in circumference! And towards the Orangerie, discreetly positioned a short distance from an imposing Magnolia tree planted during the Second Empire, is a centuries-old yew which marked the boundary of a religious domain that may be the source of the area’s first wine.
The tree may be as old as 450 or 500 years according to experts who have inspected it. Another marvel for the passionate botanist is found around the edges of the great lake: a rare ensemble of Osmunda Regalis, the the regal plant more commonly known as the “Giant Fern”. Their branches are so large that in summer they resemble something from the Jurassic period.
To speak of Cantemerle’s park without evoking its inhabitants is to deprive it of part of its soul. We may begin with the blackbird (“merle” in French) which gave the estate its name in the middle ages. “Canta Merla”, or “blackbird’s song”, was proudly adopted by Poncio, the estate’s lord, for his name. Why this name and not another? Simple: these wooded lands were filled with game—a land of plenty—which the lord hunted to the song of the blackbird. As with the people at Cantemerle, tradition continues to be observed by its animal population. Blackbirds and sparrows, owls and herons, squirrels, foxes, wild rabbits and deer, martens and every sort of forest fauna share this space which has been protected for centuries.