Thoiry Castle and Zoo
HISTORY OF THE CASTLE
In 1559, Raoul Moreau's quest was far from ordinary, and resulted in an astonishing creation. Treasurer of the King of France, a man of wealth, and also an alchemist, he did not find the Philosopher's Stone, but the ideal place to conduct his occult research.
Thoiry's site, a small hill, surrounded by hills of the same height at the same distance, corresponded to his vision. The location united the characteristics necessary to harness the forces of heaven and earth. Moreau knew that the telluric forces were magnified at this point by the magnetic fault running from Chartres to Amiens thereby creating the vital ambiance for his esoteric studies…
The great Renaissance architect, Philibert de L'Orme, with the master mason, Olivier Imbert, using the Golden Mean, the Divine Proportion, constructed a rare esoteric architectural monument in perfect harmony with the forces of Nature and the Sun's course. Perfectly placed in Time and Space, the Chateau appears to be a transparent bridge of light, in whose central arch, the Grand Vestible, the sun seems to rise or set following the summer and winter solstices.
For over 430 years, the sixteen following generations of the La Panouse family have preserved this part of eternity, a man's secret dream revealed only to those whose vision goes beyond appearances. And, although it took over 400 years to unite Thoiry's 1200 acres into a unique estate, an instant enchantment carries you away to another world
In 1559, skillfully combining the arithmetical and geometrical proportions with the architectural principles of the Golden Mean, the famous architect Philibert de L'Orme and his master mason Olivier Imbert privileged the beauty and the delicacy of form over monumental pretension. And if the castle windows seem enormous for the period, it was to provide the best view possible of the peaceable perspectives of the gardens meeting with the horizons. Here all is beauty and harmony.
At Thoiry, mathematical science serving reality, nourished Raoul Moreau's esoteric inspiration, because, the calculation of the perfect proportions of architectural forms to capture celestial energy created the ideal climate for the alchemist's research and meditation.
Interaction of water mirrors, of light and shadow, the castle was conceived to integrate and to fusion with the universe. The Solstice appears to rise in the central arch of the house, enflaming the windows of the ground floor and marking the parterre with the fiery fingers of its rays. The Sun's presence, Apollo captured in his course across the heavens, links the castle to the rhythm of Time and the solar cycles of the seasons.
In his desire to create harmony between the Château and its positon in the given space, Philibert de L'Orme did not neglect the essential, either: the spirituel and relationel well-being of the inhabitants were important considerations. This balance of Architecture and Beauty must be at the service of everyday life to create general well-being.
In their quest for knowledge, and the wisdom it brings, the initiated architect and the inspired alchemist inscribed in Thoiry's forms a symphony to the bliss of an 'art de vivre', an invitation to travel in Time to a world of calm, luxury, and voluptuousness.
THE THOIRY ZOO
Morning (opening 10 a.m.) : In your own automobile, or on board your tour bus, discover during a leisurely hour's drive, the life and habits of Thoiry's exotic wild animals roaming free in the African, and North and South American Animal Reserves. (Remember to ask for the Promo Ticket including the Castle, Reserve, Historical Botanical and Zoological Gardens and the Labyrinthe and save on the total ticket price of all visits for adults and children. Lunch : For families and individuals, a self service restaurant the 'Jardin d'Hiver', a sandwich shop, and drinks stand are available at the entrance of the gardens.
For groups of 25 or more, and by advance reservation only, a choice of menus is served in the agreable 'Jardin d'Hiver' restaurants. Picnic Tents and open air picnic grounds near the exit of the African Reserve.
Afternoon : In the Castle's lovely drawing rooms, an english speaking guide in period costume will amuse you with a multitude of little anecdotes bringing to life the portraits of the Family de La Panouse's ancestors and their collections of superb furniture, sumptuous tapestries and remarkable archives.
Cross the little stream on the suspension bridge to Mystery Island hidden under gigantic bambous. Slide down into a burrow of special audio effects where the slightest false step will 'ring' out the news of your arrival. Climb the great wooden pyramide and then , schuss! down the slides to other adventures in Thoiry's fun-filled playground
In Winter, the order of visiting is inversed: Start with a morning stroll in the historical, botanical and zoological gardens and the maze, then lunch and visit the Castle and the Wildlife Park in the afternoon. (N.B. From November 12 to January 31, the Castle Drawing Rooms are open only to groups by advance reservation. ) If you only have a half day to visit : Start by the Wildlife Reserve, and then visit the Castle and the botanical and zoological gardens and the Maze. or Garden Lovers may choose to visit only the historical and botanical gardens.The Château also may be visited independently. For your comfort, we advise you to come equiped for a day in the country and don't forget comfortable shoes. Please note that dogs and other domestic animals are not admitted.