Domaine de Randan
A French royal estate on the frontier between the Auvergne and the Bourbonnais
Designed by architect Pierre Fontaine for Princess Adélaïde, sister of French Restoration king Louis-Philippe (reigned 1830-1848), the Château de Randan was built between Vichy and Clermont-Ferrand. In 1925, it was destroyed by fire, leaving the extensive grounds and a significant collection of furniture. Today, what with the imposing, romantic château ruins, spectacular outbuildings and grounds extending over 100 hectares, the Domaine Royal de Randan bears witness to the luxurious way of life led by a princely French family in the 19th century. The gardens and grounds reflect a mix of French, English and Italian influences, continuing in the landscaping traditions of the 18th century and presaging the way the art of gardening would develop during the French Second Empire (1850-1872). Do visit the grand orangery, built around 1835, and the greenhouses, copies of those made for Versailles (the latter no longer in existence).