Designed by French-Belgian landscape architect François Duvillers, this is a historic park that conserves the essence of its origins.
In 1875, the Counts of Rocabertí refurbished the medieval military fortress, converting it into a French-style château. Next to the new palace, the Counts decided to place a park, making use of their own adjacent land known as “lo Bosch del Comte”, along with different gardens and orchards, which they obtained from the small landowners of the town, in exchange for other plots of land and haylofts.
Duvillers’ original plans included 158 varieties of plants and trees. Indeed, this was an excessive number of species that did not fit in with the reality of the occupied and vacant spaces of the plans. The park’s designs featured as many as 63 different areas, including the orange orchard avenue, a maze, a cricket field, a gym, a summerhouse, the gardeners’ shed and a cave. Not everything was built, nor was everything planted at first. Some of the spaces and botanical species have disappeared through time, while other elements have been added gradually, in keeping with the needs of the new owners. These include the lake (Marquis de la Torre, 1909) and the auditorium, which accommodates the International Music Festival.
Today, the park is home to a noteworthy white stork colony, thanks to a recovery project that was launched in 1995, in cooperation with the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Nature Reserve. Since then, the colony has continued to grow, boasting 32 nests and 66 new-born storks in 2014.
In addition to the storks, as you walk through the park, you will see a French rose garden, yews, bottle trees, magnolias, pines and cypresses, as well as an over two-hundred-year-old holm oak that was there before the park was created.
You will also enjoy the 19th-century aviary, which is inhabited by pheasants and different species of doves; the cave, which was built in 1877; and finally, the striking medieval façade of the castle. Coming along?