In the XIXth century, the Viennet family calls on the talented Bordeaux architect Louis Michel Garros to carry out their project at Raissac.
Louis Michel Garros decides to integrate the main building, a sober XVIIIth century mansion built on probably Roman foundations, into a U shaped building, flanked by two pavilions.
Raissac is typical of the neo-classical XVIIIth century style. The imposing stables remind us of the importance given to horses at that time. Very well-preserved they now house a large collection of XIXth century ceramics and Christine Viennet’s contemporary work.
The well known Bordeaux architect Louis Michel Garros (1833-1911) provides a largely dynamic framework in architecture during the second half of the nineteenth century, characteristic of wine-growing areas such as Médoc and the area around Béziers in the Langudoc region. His fertile work shows how he participated in the elaboration of wine-castles as an architectural type in these two French regions, satisfying their owners’ ambitions. Garros responded to a combination of social and artistic codes to lift the status of a simple mansion to the rank of an aristocratic and prestigious castle which enobled the vineyard itself. Garros had an evident interest in historical buildings which he used for his very many wine castles using Néo-gothique, néo-Elisabethan, néo-XVIIIth century styles, an amazingly eclectic selection which was extremely successful.
A landscaped garden
Renowned Swiss landscapists, the Bühler brothers completed numerous garden projects with the architect Michel Louis Garros. They designed the beautiful “Poets garden” in Béziers, the vast ''Jardin d’Acclimatation'' in Paris, the Park of ''The Golden Head'' in Lyon, as well as the Garden of Raissac.
They imagined a generous and peaceful garden for Raissac with alleys and shady paths leading to a pond, a grotto, a greenhouse… with scents, flowers and exotic trees.
THE BÜHLER BROTHERS
Eugène (1822-1907) and Denis Bühler (1811-1890), were born in Clamart into a Protestant family. At their father’s death, Denis was obliged to take over the family business and became a nursery gardener.
Eugène studies garden landscapes at the Versailles horticultural school until they both settle in Paris in order to design parks and gardens.
1842 Their first project at Kernevez in Britany, was followed by many others in the area such as the parks of the châteaux of Combourg, Bonnefontaine, Briantais, then Oberthür, Bois-Cornillé… They restructure the Gardens of la Tête d’Or in Lyon in 1857, of the Domaine de la Grenade à Saint Selve in 1859, of the Château of Courson, Essonne in1860, of Thabor in Rennes in 1868 and the gardens of Prébendes d’Oé in Tours in 1872, followed by the college St François de Sales in Evreux in 1883.
During the end of the XIXth century, the Bühlers start their projects in the south of France and specifically in the Hérault region in Languedoc.
They design the parks of : the du Domaine of Verchant, the Château of Raissac, Libouriac and the ''Plateau des Poètes'' in Béziers around 1880. The gardens of the Château de Brochon, Côte d’Or, in 1885, is followed by la Sallière in 1886 and the ''Parc Bordelais'' in Bordeaux…
The Bühler brothers make a particular statement by planting rare and exotic species in their landscaped gardens.
Their conception of a garden
The alleys or paths of their gardens were designed in harmonious curves and lines, essential to its general beauty. They studied the natural irregularities of the ground which remained the frame of their garden landscape. Trees, flowers, bushes then become the important elements of their style. Rare species are planted on the lawns to be seen by all. Trees are planted according to their shapes and colors to maximize perspectives. Bushes and beds of flowers, well chosen and local to the area, are planted near the house. The garden seems natural, but the influence of designers is visible. Shrubs are designed in elliptic shapes. Water is an essential element of the garden’s harmonious design with waterfalls, ponds, rivers and fountains… all appearing in their most natural way.
''Archétype du jardin paysager français vu par Alphand selon la conception de Jean-pierre Barillet-Deschamps (1824-1875)''