Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Villa des Charmes (vee-ya day sharm). Mesurat family residence, grandly named for two hornbeam trees (charme in French) planted in the gated front yard, the closed garden of the novel’s English title. Thirty-five year old Germaine, a self-proclaimed invalid, remains housebound until her sudden departure; her eighteen-year-old sister, Adrienne, is at first free to leave the house at will, but after the death of their father–in what may or may not be an accident–remains virtually imprisoned inside the Villa des Charmes. The house itself is described as ugly, built economically with more windows than bricks. In the novel’s opening scene, young Adrienne is shown cleaning house, moving heavy furniture with apparent ease and casting reproving glances at the ancestral portraits hanging on the walls. Before long, however, her appearance of robust health gives way to delusions and fainting; the house itself, meanwhile, appears to Adrienne in terms of dark shadows and steep staircases.
Villa Louise. Neighboring residence, rented to the enigmatic Léontine Legras, at the very least a “kept” woman, with possible criminal connections. Adrienne occasionally seeks companionship at the Villa Louise with this neighbor, who is by turns friendly and treacherous. After Antoine Mesurat’s sudden death, Madame Legras threatens to reveal Adrienne’s possibly murderous secret, finally taking advantage of Adrienne’s near-catatonic state to rob her of gold and jewels.
From the start of the novel, the Villa Louise stands as an important landmark, at first empty in anticipation of the new tenant’s arrival, then as one of the few buildings that can be seen from the Villa des Charmes. At the end of the novel, the Villa Louise again stands empty, Madame Legras having defaulted on her lease and absconded with her plunder.
*Montfort L’Amaury. Town southwest of Paris that is Adrienne’s first stop on her ill-fated attempt to escape from La Tour L’Evêque. From here Adrienne mails her self-incriminating letter to Dr. Denis Maurecourt, the object of her unrequited affections.
*Dreux. Small city west of Montfort on the same train line that is the second and final stop on Adrienne’s brief journey. Here Adrienne checks into a hotel, suffers a nightmare in which she fancies herself to have contracted Germaine’s illness, and goes to a pharmacy in search of remedies. She then roams the town, admiring its landmarks and markets, briefly attracting the attention of a young workman whom she first sends away, then tries to find. Adrienne’s visit to Dreux serves to highlight the increasing severity of her mental condition.