Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Les jardins suspendus de Marqueyssac
The incredible gardens surrounding the Chateau at Marqueyssac near Sarlat are an extraordinary example of Boxwood topiary! Four full time gardeners work year round clipping and shaping it with frankly jaw dropping results.
Listed as a National Historical Monument, Marqueyssac is a private estate dating from the 17th Century. Its large park and gardens were opened to the public in 1997 following extensive renovation work. Designed for walking, the park sits on a spur overlooking the Dordogne valley. At the parks furthest point you reach the Belvedere, a fabulous balcony high above the river which unveils breath taking panoramic views to the Valley below, hence the name, 'jardins suspendus' - overhanging gardens.
With some six kilometres of walks, the park has a Labyrinthine feel. You're never quite sure where each path may lead and with each twist and turn you become aware that there this is a place of many micro climates, from the southern side of the park with its Montpellier Maples, typical of the Mediterranean to the Hornbeams and Holm Oaks of the more humid Northern side more representative of an Atlantic influenced climate. It is these dark Holm Oaks that are responsible for the origins of this regions name, the Perigord Noir.
During Summer many events are held at the estate with perhaps the most special being the candle lit evenings which are held during July and August. The gardens and walkways are lit by thousands of candles from dusk 'till midnight. A truly special atmosphere . A truly remarkable garden.