To the north of the court of honour the chateau’s nymphaeum, classified as a historic monument, was built at the request of the Prince of Conti in the 18th century. The nymphaeum is a circular artificial cave covered in a mosaic of shells, magnified by a light well. The Prince’s crest decorates the walls to mark his ownership.
Nymphaea are richly decorated structures, dedicated to the nymphs, the divinities associated with water and nature. During Antiquity the Greeks built architectural features at water springs, particularly in grottos. The Romans took up the idea and developed it creating colonnaded structures and monumental fountains.
During the Renaissance the craze for all things Classical led to the construction of nymphaea in gardens everywhere in Europe. Very few still remain because of their fragile decoration.