The English Garden of Neuchâtel
22 June 2022
In 1765, Pierre Alexandre DuPeyrou (1729-1794) received permission from the city council of Neuchâtel to build a public promenade behind his orangery and the DuPeyrou palace, which was still under construction at that time. The passage was located on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel.
Neuchâtel was a principality from 1504 to 1813. The Prussian king was the prince of the former county from 1707 onwards. The city palaces and the centre still bear witness to the royal grandeur.
DuPeyrou was a wealthy former plantation owner in the Dutch colony of Surinam. He finalised the construction of the DuPeyrou palace in 1771. The promenade completed the aristocratic impression. The art and history museum (Musée d’art et d’histoire) and the historical galleries (Galeries de l’histoire) at the DuPeyrou Palace deal with this history.
In 1865, the promenade was adapted to modern taste and lost most of its poplars. The passage was redesigned as an English Garden, the Jardin Anglais, perhaps in imitation of the prestigious English Garden of Arlesheim (Canton of Basel-Landschaft).
After the first correction of the waters of the Jura (1868-1891, see Swiss Spectator, Swiss Water Management, 22 April 2022), the lake had sunk three metres. From then on, the English Garden was located a few hundred metres from the shore.
A new district (Quartier des Beaux-Arts) filled up the space with the art and history museum, residential houses, and public buildings. From 1888, the park gained several new attractions, including a Grande Salle, today’s casino, and restaurants.
The park and its (exotic) trees show new flora and beautiful flower gardens yearly.