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Art History Research Resources: French Gardens

Search Tips

Depending on the garden you choose, there may or may not be a lot of information to be found by searching for the specific garden name.  You may need to ask questions of the surrounding context of your location to fill in what is missing.  Here are some examples of the types of questions you could investigate:

  • what style is your garden/green space?
    • romantic/natural or orderly/neoclassical, etc...
    • does it retain the original style of its design, or has it been modified over the years?
  • is your green space a neighborhood garden, or is it a large "state" space meant for events/tourists?
    • what types of activities take place in the space?
    • has it been the setting of major events?
  • are there memorials or monuments in your space?
    • who or what is being commemorated? 
    • what is the style of the memorial?
    • who designed or created the memorial?
  • where in the city is your space located?
    • has the surrounding neighborhood changed over time?  has this impacted the use or function of the space?
  • has your space been depicted in art (films, paintings, photographs, novels, poetry) or inspired any music or literature?

Search terms:

In additon to the names of any designers/planners/honorees or historical events, these types of search terms may be useful:

  • landscape architect*
  • landscape design*
  • urban/city plan*
  • park/parc
  • garden/jardin
  • green space
  • memoria*/commemorat*

Finding Books

The two best ways to find books at ZSR are to browse the stacks in certain call number areas, and to search the library catalog using keywords based on your topic.

1) Browse the following call number areas for books on gardens, sculpture, or French history.  Use this location guide to see where these call numbers are located.

  • DC: History of France
    • DC700-790: Paris
      • DC708: Guidebooks to Paris
    • DC801 A-Z: French cities, alphabetical by city name
  • NA: Architecture
    • NA1041-1053: Architecture in France
    • NA1050: Architecture in Paris
  • NB: Sculpture
    • NB540-553.3: Sculpture in France
  • SB: Plant culture
    • SB 403-450.87: Flowers & flower culture (greenhouses, roof gardens)
    • SB450.9-467.8: Gardens & gardening
    • SB469-476.4: Landscape gardening & landscape architecture
    • SB481-486: Parks & public reservations

2) Search the library catalog for book and ebooks using keywords based on your topic.  Here is an example:

Use the advanced search screen when you have a more complex search, or when there are multiple search terms for what you are looking for.  If you were looking for information on Impressionist painting in France, you could use the following terms:

impressionist AND painting AND france


impression* AND paint* AND (france OR french)

With the first search you will get about 67 results.  For the second search you will get about 330 results.  If you shorten your search terms and add an "*" as well as combine variations, you will increase the number of results you get back.  Rather than just searching for "painting," if you search for "paint*" you would also get "paint," "paints," "painter," "painters," "paintings" and "painted."  In the last box, because "France" and "French" are variations and you want either term in your results, you can place an "OR" in between them, which indicates that either term is acceptable.

Finding Articles

Use the following resources to locate newpaper coverage, popular discussions, and scholarly research on topics relating to your projects.


Historical Newspapers & Magazines


Contemporary Newspapers & Magazines

Related Primary Source Collections

The primary source collections listed below include documents related to travel writing, entertainment, fairs, and other events that may inform your projects.

Map Sources

There are a number of sources for historical maps of Paris, both online and in books.  Here are a few places for you to start:

Other Visual Resources