The hanging gardens of Marqueyssac

jardins marqueyssac gardens automne périgord-15

My first memory of the hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac dates back to a late December afternoon, when my gaze fell on a beautiful mansion at the top of a small hill. We were driving towards the gardens, but I had no idea at the time that the beautiful estate I was looking at was part of them. The house was lit from within, and I had the impression of a timeless, warm place. When I go for an evening stroll in the countryside, I particularly like to see a beautiful lamp near a window, and then imagine the interior; a library, a good armchair, pretty paintings or simply the life of the household… and it was precisely this glow in the distance that stood out in a rather dark winter atmosphere that appealed to me. So what a pleasure it was to realize that (for once) I was about to discover the inside of these often imagined interiors.

jardins marqueyssac automne périgord-48
jardins marqueyssac gardens automne périgord-17

The gardens of Marqueyssac are hanging gardens in the Périgord region of France. This spectacular site overlooks the Dordogne valley, and offers many exceptional views of the surrounding area. The site includes a listed private estate dating back to the early 19th century, with a magnificent roof covered in local stone tiles known as lauze.

This small château is elegant in its simplicity. Asymmetrical, it features a turret on one side and a more simple, single-storey house on the other. The yellow stone and blue-toned shutters add to its charm. For me, this is architecture that represents the beauty of France and is representative of fine old homes.

jardins marqueyssac automne périgord-25

Visitors have the opportunity (and pleasure) to walk through some of the main rooms, including the dining room, living room and bedroom – all restored in the spirit of the period.

But it’s above all to admire the parterre of topiaries that the whole world has been coming to Marqueyssac since it opened to the public in 1997. As you leave the house, you admire this boxwood architecture, whose movement and structure have been shaped in the form of waves. These plant sculptures are all round and sinuous… the whole is perfectly mastered and calibrated thanks to hand-cutting. We’re particularly pleased that the box tree borer hasn’t done any more damage to these 150,000 hundred-year-old box trees. As you stroll around, you can also enjoy a beautiful view of the Nature Pavilion, which made me feel like I was in Italy! If you’re visiting with children, they’ll be delighted to discover a Jurassic dinosaur skeleton from the USA!

jardins marqueyssac automne périgord-39
jardins marqueyssac automne périgord-43

After admiring the box trees, take the main walkways to the Belvedere – they offer breathtaking panoramic views over the valley and the famous cliffside village of La Roque-Gageac.

I confess I didn’t quite follow the lovely map provided (I had a bit of trouble finding my way around, but maybe I’m just not good at it), which isn’t a big deal, especially if you have the time to spend the day there. You’ll be able to take more breaks than I did, and depending on the season, you may even be able to have lunch on the spot, or enjoy a good coffee while taking in the bucolic panorama. Once you’ve reached Belvedere, however, I’d advise you to take a different route back than the one you took on the outward journey.

jardins marqueyssac automne périgord-33

Marqueyssac is an enchanting place where creativity and technical skill intertwine to offer a marvellous natural and mineral spectacle. It’s also a place of contrasts, as the softness and romanticism of the topiaries contrasts with more arid, rocky areas.

jardins marqueyssac gardens automne périgord-51
jardins marqueyssac automne périgord-07
jardins marqueyssac automne périgord-27

I’ll quickly mention the boutique: it’s lovely with its wooden framework and very cosy, but I would have loved to see more choice in terms of garden ornaments and tableware, because the place is inspiring and has a lot of potential!

If, like me, you’re interested in topiary art, what better way than to consult the advice of Marqueyssac’s head gardener, which you can find by following this link.

jardins marqueyssac automne périgord-52
jardins marqueyssac automne périgord-09

Partagez cet article