I've been going through photos I took on a trip I made to northern France some years ago, thinking that as we wait for the new season to begin, it might be fun to share my photos of French gardens. Perhaps they will give you an idea of what we might see in Season Two. This and the next few posts will feature some of my favorites.
These are the gardens of Bourges Cathedral, located in the city of Bourges, at the edge of the Loire Valley. The cathedral was completed in 1230 and features double flying buttresses, like those of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The gardens surrounding the cathedral are formal and beautifully maintained.
Here's a close up of one of the planting beds.
This photo was taken in late September, when color in most gardens is winding down. But not here!
Not far from Bourges, about 190 miles southwest of Paris, is the city of Angers. Its strategic defensive location was first recognized by the ancient Romans, who built a fortress there. The fortress was replaced by the Chateau d'Angers, a castle built in the 9th and early 13th centuries. Over the centuries the castle passed through the hands of many powerful people including the Plantagenet Kings of England, King Louis IX (referred to as St. Louis) and members of the Medici family.
Today the Castle is a museum, operated by the city of Bourges. The moat, once filled with water to protect the castle from invaders, is now filled with elaborate gardens, like the one below.
I'll close this post with one more favorite memory - the garden at Clos Luce, the home of Leonardo da Vinci in his final years. Clos Luce is a small chateau in the city of Amboise. It came as a complete surprise to me that da Vinci died in France; I thought he spent his last days in Italy. I was also surprised to see that the Chateau is home to an impressive collection of exhibits that illustrate da Vinci's many inventions - the same collection I'd seen a few years earlier in Victoria, BC!
This is a view from one of the upstairs windows, looking out toward the gift shop. I'm sure the view was quite different in Leonardo's day - none of these plants are that old. But it was nice to stand there and think that perhaps he looked out that same window onto a similar garden long ago.
In future posts, I'll take you on a tour of Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, show you some of Monet's waterlilies and introduce you to the most awesome kitchen garden you've ever seen! Stay tuned.