Joachim Carvallo

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Joachim Carvallo (1869-1936) was a Spanish-born doctor and medical researcher in France best known as the owner who restored Château de Villandry and the creator of its spectacular gardens.

Joachim Carvallo emigrated to Paris in 1893 to further his studies. While working with a medical research team he met and married in 1899 a medical intern named Ann Coleman, an American from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (a descendant of Robert Coleman (industrialist)). For a time the couple lived in Paris but in 1906 they bought Château de Villandry in the Indre-et-Loire in France's Loire Valley and began their dream of restoring and improving the once magnificent château. After becoming a French citizen, during World War I the Carvallos opened part of their property for use as a military hospital and he served in the French Army as a military doctor. When the war ended, they returned to their restoration work but became most famous for creating what many consider to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.

A pioneer in the opening of historic buildings to the public, in 1924 Carvallo founded "La Demeure Historique," the first association for owners of châteaux with historical value. In 1934, Château de Villandry was designated a Monument historique and has been named by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. Today, the gardens are a major tourist attraction, visited by the public at large and horticulturalists from around the world. Henri Carvallo, the doctor's great grandson, is the owner of Villandry and continues to enhance and expand the château's gardens.

In 2004, Alix de Guitaut-Vienne published a history of the doctor's lifelong work on the château in a book titled Joachim Carvallo et l'Oeuvre de la demeure historique (ISBN 3-9522154-6-5).