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Gardens in France: Les Plus Beaux Jardins De France (Taschen 25th Anniversary) Hardcover – 1 Mar 2008
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That said, there is still enough left to fully enjoy. There are three chapters/groups of gardens: north, centre and south. About a dozen if them in each chapter, public historic ones as well as more recent private ones. And although a few of the private ones perhaps don't have as much to offer as one think they should in this company the selection is otherwise good and includes some treasures. I'm talking about the wonderful garden in Provence once created by Nicole de Vesian and the extremely simple courtyard at Limesy in Normandy to mention a few. The formal gardens at the small manor of Erignac and the grand castle of Hautefort are not often found in mainstream garden literature but can be enjoyed here.
The text for this outstanding book is printed in French, English, and German so you can choose whichever language is the easiest for you. I found the French versions to be the most engaging. The texts are quite brief to allow more room for the amazing photographs!
As someone who loves gardens and often visits France, I was impressed by how many gardens I had missed. Well, no longer! My next visit will be quite different as a result of encountering this beautiful catalogue of gorgeous greenery.
Naturally, you have seen Versailles and Giverny. But have you been to the Chateau d'Apremont, Chateau d'Hautefort, and Vaux-le-Vicomte?
The French have long excelled at formal gardens, and you surely know Le Notre's work (lovingly displayed here). But you will also see many modern and informal gardens, as well. In fact, you will encounter humble, noble, ancient, and abstract gardens among others. These are drawn from a cross-section of France so you get the benefit of seeing what the different growing conditions permit. On the Riviera, you will see cacti while dense shrubbery in intricate designs are featured in the northern gardens.
The continuity of this book is in capturing each garden at its absolute best color. Some of these gardens may only look this wonderful for five minutes, but von Schaewen succeeded in capturing those right five minutes.
With over 40 gardens to examine, you will surely find some that match your tastes and mood.
After you have finished examining these remarkable oases of human sensibility, I suggest that you begin inquiring about great gardens near where you live which you have never seen. Then inquire as to when is the best time to visit. Chances are, if you are like me, you have been missing great gardens not only in France, but everywhere you go.
Stop and smell the roses!
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