Habiter

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A riotous selection of interactive installations and workshops for all ages, in the grounds of a 17th century château.

Le Domaine de Chamarande in Essonne, just a few minutes from Chamarande station on the RER C, comprises a 17th century chateau with 98ha of grounds – a magical stretch of forests, lawns and lakes. In summer, the chateau’s resident Centre d’Art puts together a lively mixture of exhibitions and shows, mixing contemporary art and educational angles. So as well as ancient trees and wild geese, you might find wooden dinghies, outdoor bathtubs, giant beehives or yellow rubber ducks hidden in the grounds. Many of this year’s projects create spaces where you can sleep or picnic, encouraging reflection on the urbanization of the ‘Grand Paris’ area and the nature of our consumerist society, in an approach that’s particularly engaging for children.

On the broad theme of ‘habitat’, La Domaine this year hosts pop-up cabins installed by Florence Doléac and David de Tscharner (to apply for one of the overnight stays, email chamarade@essone.fr), an alternative kitchen garden by Laure Tixier and a ‘Chopper boat’ by Coloco (you can take trip in it on Saturdays and Sundays from 1.30pm-3pm, June-October). Inside the castle, there’s a labyrinth by Pierre Ardouvin, plus carpentry workshops (daily 5pm-6pm) from Constructlab, dance classes, ‘marble’ objects made from leftover construction materials by Stefan Shankland and much more. Added to all this are plenty of performances, and permanent sculptures installed in the garden.

Château opening times: Until August 31, daily 12noon-7pm; from September 1, Wed-Sun 1pm-6pm

Access to park: Until September 30, daily 9am-8pm; from October 1, daily 9am-6pm

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