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Gardens Of Marqueyssac: French masterpieces of park architecture

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Gardens Of Marqueyssac: French masterpieces of park architecture

French park culture is best represented in Versailles: ideal forms of clipped trees and shrubs, green labyrinths, fountains. Modern landscape design in different parts of the world still uses techniques invented by French park architects of the past.

However, if you look at which parks are considered the best in France today, then there are few of them that strictly adhere to one style. Combinations of French gardens with Italian or Japanese gardens give each park its individuality and uniqueness.

Wavy park: intricately sheared boxwood sculptures

The Marquessac Gardens are located in the French region of Aquitaine near Bordeaux. Gardens - because the garden occupies a huge territory, 22 hectares, on which the garden technology changes, creating the illusion of different gardens located nearby.

Marqueyssac - privately owned: the house (chateau) and garden once belonged to the Marqueyssac family, hence the name. Since the 19th century, the estate has been owned by a different family. The estate is located on a hill 130 m above the Dordogne valley. The hill has a rocky cliff, representing an extensive observation deck. Because of these features, the Marqueyssac gardens are called "hanging", and also - "Belvedere Dordogne" (belvedere - an open area for the review). This natural belvedere overlooks the Dordogne river, 2 castles on the other side of the river, the valley and the municipality of Vezac.

An old house with a high gable roof, covered with stone tiles, surrounded by a garden. In the 18th century, the garden here was planned by a student of the famous park architect Le Nôtre, the author of the Versailles gardens. In the 19th century, the estate was bought by Julien Bessières, who actively intervened in the original layout of the park. One of Bessières' concerns was to make the park accessible for walking - under his leadership, a wide central alley for horse rides and many smaller alleys for walking promenades were planted. It will take all day to get around the entire park.

In 1861, Judge Julien Serval, who admired Italian garden culture, became the owner of Marquessac. As conceived by Serval, boxwood was brought here, which serves as the basis for the green sculpture created by hand-cutting the bush. The prickly boxwood keeps its shape perfectly, and its foliage has a delicate light green color, standing out from the general green mass of the park.

Visitors are greeted by topiary: green balls, waves, mushrooms, stones and, in general, green volumetric figures that are unlike anything else, passing one into another. Such fun surrounds the house, but further the sheared boxwood acquires strict ordered forms of labyrinths, cells with flowers inside, curly borders. 150,000 hand-sheared boxwoods create an unreal, dreamlike atmosphere in the Marqueyssac gardens.

In addition to boxwood, Serval ordered saplings of cypress and pine (Italian pine) from Italy. There are not so many flower beds here, the park range consists mainly of shades of green, but small flower islands beautifully set off a riot of greenery. Cyclamens for this purpose were also brought from Italy.

Tourist attraction: what to see in the park besides greenery

The Marqueyssac Gardens have the essential park elements that are characteristic of French park culture:

  • terraces for romantic walks
  • stairs
  • towers
  • sculptures
  • stone huts
  • rotunda
  • benches carved into the rocks.

In addition to the park, you can visit the chateau: part of the house is set aside for a museum, where they show the interiors that have survived from the beginning of the 19th century. In addition, the house has an observation deck overlooking the valley.

In summer, classical music by candlelight is played once a week in the garden. For those wishing to see the mysterious garden at night, it is illuminated, creating an even more romantic atmosphere.

Two restaurants - open and closed - are located so that they also offer beautiful views. Tourists are also entertained by peacocks walking around.

* 19th century garden, an example of park architecture

Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Kuban State University, Russia (World Economics); Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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