To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. ― Audrey Hepburn
Many must have had the dream of tomorrow to create such a garden as Les Jardins Suspends de Marqueyssac. The Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac are a wonder to see. This magnificent sculpture of green is my dream garden and my favorite of any I have seen in the world.
How many hands did it take to curate such a space of living and growing wonder over the decades? The garden is edged with 150,000 boxwoods over 100 years old. It’s a thing of beauty. Every turn, every plant, every bench has been placed or shaped with care.
There is so much thought behind the garden from its hand pruned boxwoods to hedges trimmed around tree trunks. Let’s not forget its outdoor cafe set high atop a cliff with misters lightly sprinkling away the heat of the day and peacocks strutting past a remarkable view. Even the vending machines were covered in wood to blend in with the surroundings!
There were long paths of repeating arches, numerous water features, tree houses, hammocks, play areas, a labyrinth and more. I was delighted around every turn. It was also a sanctuary from the late summer sun as most of it is shaded.
I was in awe, like a child, giddy with excitement when we first arrived. We were one of the first people to enter and I swept up the path to the magical topiary display I had in my mind for years before coming. The bastion is the show stopper of the garden just south of the chateau. Beautiful mounds of green, perfectly trimmed by hand, swirl and twist around a slope over the valley. Long lines swoop through the space in an almost paisley pattern throughout. The balls of foliage seem more alive in their manicured form hugging each shape next to them with curves of perfection.
The early 19th century chateau rests at its base, a beautiful structure to explore with a tower and views of the Dordogne Valley. The entire garden sits high atop cliffs and a walk to the other end leads to the Belvedere, 130 meters above the river below. This spot is another highlight of the garden as it gives one of the most beautiful views of Perigord. We stood at this lookout taking in the views of the whole countryside and smiling at the tiny town of La Roque-Gageac below. We had canoed the same river the day before and stopped at this romantic town for lunch. Now it was seen in miniature form from the garden platform high above.
We wandered for hours down mossy paths, past zen-like patterns in the earth, next to stone huts, and spread out on hammocks in the shade. The garden was larger than I had imagined and had something for everyone to enjoy. Coming full circle and arriving back at the chateau, we finished our visit with a light lunch at the Tea-Room. Like every other meal we had in France, the food was excellent. Gazing out over castles and the gorgeous french countryside below made the moment extra special.
If you are ever visiting southern France, make a trip to this special place a priority on your journey. It’s sure to delight the senses and soothe your soul. A garden is the perfect place to connect with the land around you. Let your heart plant roots in France by falling in love with the Les Jardins Suspends de Marqueyssac.
The gardens are open every day of the year. Hours vary with the changing seasons. Parking is free and in the shade. Admission is 9.90 euros for an individual visit. They also offer a candlelight viewing in the evening for 16 euros. For more information visit here.