From a pond in the Middle Ages...
The estate owes its name to the presence of numerous springs on the surface of its 52 ha grounds; in fact, there are still 3 springs in the park today.
Going back in time to the Middle Ages, we would have our feet in the water... Since the 13th century, a vast pond was present between Gouvieux and Chantilly, fed by the Nonette river and with a dike located nearby, at the place called “La Chaussée”.
In 1658, a catastrophic flood occurred. The pond overflows, the frost not allowing the lifting of the bungs, necessary to the evacuation of the overflow. The dike opens then in a formidable breach in which water rushes with violence.
The pond lost its name and became a swampy meadow. It was never restored.
...to a romantic garden in the Age of Enlightenment
The history of the site began in 1781 with the purchase of a 28-hectare parcel by Jacques Berthauld, a landscape gardener, with the aim of creating a romantic garden.
These so-called "romantic" gardens were born in England around 1720 and the fashion spread to France during the 18th century. In these pre-revolutionary times, these picturesque gardens, "which speak to the soul", are particularly appreciated by enlightened minds, readers of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot or the Abbé Prévost. They announced the romantic movement that would flourish in the following century.
With these romantic gardens, which are to be contemplated as a work of art, the goal is to stage nature. For this purpose, landscape architects planted remarkable trees, while working on volumes, shapes, and colors. They also built grottoes, small bridges, and kiosks.
Here, at Les Fontaines, this led to the diversion of the Nonette (a tributary of the Oise) to create an ornamental lake in the hollow of the land, around three islets; the construction of a half-timbered house on the main island, which is no longer visible today, and of two half-timbered kiosks on the southern and northern banks, as well as the creation of two artificial grottoes on the eastern side of the lake, one of which is still visible today.
Jacques Berthauld's son, an artist, became known for his poetic engravings of the place.