I don’t know much about the history of the estate which is now Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, but at one point it must have been self-sufficient.
There are three ponds that were originally designed for aquaculture – raising fish for the table. The largest pond, closest to the house, would have been for mature fish ready to be eaten. The smaller pond next to it would have been for raising fry. There was an intermediate pond as well, with fish moving on as they matured.
These days the ponds are just for show. The water quality currently looks a bit iffy, but that’s because the ponds were recently drained to deal with an infestation of American crayfish (an invasive alien species) and haven’t settled down again yet. I didn’t have the heart to ask whether the crayfish made it onto the menu….
I assume that this was the third fish pond. It’s now part of a Japanese-inspired garden, which is the most maintenance-intensive part of the whole garden. Box hedges need trimming, flowers are removed to avoid colours and scents from distracting the mind from its meditative state and the surrounding trees drop endless leaves to be picked up.
The Japanese garden has its own tea house, but it has an easier entrance than the traditional low-level door – for diners who have just eaten in the restaurant and are too full to bend down low.
Explore other parts of the garden at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons: