Inevitably when Karen and I visit the formal gardens at Eyrignac, it's during the depths of Winter. This is a splendid place indeed, in the grandest tradition. On a cold dark day in December we practically had the place to ourselves bar for the call of Crows circling overhead and the smell of woodsmoke from home fires burning in the valley below; all serve to lend an almost eery quality.
The canal was frozen that day, terracotta pots wrapped against the cold. The low December sun just added to the chill.
Even in mid winter, the garden forms a tapestry of green and beige and whether this stark formality is your bag or not, it's hard not to appreciate the skill and accuracy that creates perfectly clipped Box, Hornbean and Yew.
Italy inspired the gardens of XVIIIth century France. Fastigiate Cypress punctuate perfectly domed White Mulberry. If it's happy, the cypress variety 'stricta' looks almost as if it's been brushed.
Ivy has it's place.
Avenues of Yew 'cakestands' lead you onward flanked by enormous Cedar.
Described as "the creation of the same family's passion for five hundred years", Les Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac are classed as a Jardin Remarquable by the French Ministry of Culture.