Saturday, January 16, 2010

Merqueyssac, 150 000 hand-pruned boxwoods

Merqueyssac Garden
Or when somebody completely goes nuts! You can really ask some questions about where the idea of creating this came, but the result is awesome. This is a truly magical place. And the view is incredible.

Gardener in the Merqueyssac garden

I'm talking about the Merqueyssac garden, close to Roque Gageac, in the Dordogne region. According to tradition the garden was designed by the famous gardener Le Nôtre. But it is the owner of the castle from 1861, Julien de Cerval, who created most of today's garden by planting tens of thousands of buxboms. He was a passionate lover of gardens and inspired from travels to Italy. After his death, the gardens grew wild and it took a hefty renovation project to restore them and open them for the public in 1997. And five fulltime working gardeners just for the ongoing pruning work...

The castle in the Merqueyssac garden

I was quite hesitating about going here. A garden, how interesting can it be? Especially with the children. But David at our hotel in Sarlat insisted and told me I would not regret going there. He was right, I believe almost anyone can be fascinated by the madness of the project and the beauty of the resulting romantic garden on top of a spur overlooking the Dordogne valley and some of the most famous villages around.

The view point at Merqueyssac

We walked through the gardens all the way to the view point, about a kilometre. From that spot you have a vast view over Roque Gageac, Beynac, Domme and the Castelnaud castle. Sublime.

Little electric bus at Merqueyssac

Seemed silly, but I really appreciated the little bus that came to pick us up and took us back to the castle. There we passed the café terrace that looked lovely. Next time I would love to come back on a Thursday evening in summer, when they lit up the whole garden with thousands of candles along the pathways.

Merqueyssac lit up by candles

Official site for the Merqueyssac gardens

The gardens measure 22 hectares and includes over 6 km of walking paths. Open every day the whole year. The gardens are situated in Vézac. Possible to walk around with a light buggy, like I did. And the children loved the labyrinths created by the buxboms...

Photos of the gardener and the candles: Laugéry.


  1. Hi,
    Just wanted to drop a note to thank you for this awesome blog.
    As an exiled Aquitain I really enjoy it and even learn about new things (like this place I didn't know, although I go to the area once or twice a year). I definitely need to go see it on my next trip to Dordogne.

  2. Thank you David! My husband went to school in Bordeaux and has many friends in this corner of France, so I always get good advice for things to see and do.... keep reading, I am pretty sure I can make you discover some more things around here!


Hi! Please say hello! It is so nice to see if somebody has read a post!

Related Posts with Thumbnails