Chaumont International Garden Festival9th August 2015 • Places to Visit • Stephanie Donaldson
It’s some years since I last visited the garden festival at Chaumont and my goodness it has upped its game in the intervening years. Last time I went it was more concept than realisation – and the chateau gardens beyond the festival were nothing remarkable. This year it’s an event of a different order – the majority of the twenty nine Festival Gardens are well-designed and well-planted and meet the challenge of looking good for 6 months rather than the week most show gardens need to last. The French do like their gardens to be thought-provoking – this year’s theme is Collector’s Gardens- which is interpreted in very diverse ways from La serre de victorias a lovely intrepretation of a traditional French greenhouse (in plastic!) filled with giant waterlilies to Le Jardin du Teinturier (The Dyer’s Garden) that is based on the tanneries of Marrakesh.
Each garden has an explanation at the entrance in both French and English which is very helpful and definitely worth reading to get the most from the gardens.
The Festival runs until November 1st, but the extensive chateau grounds are open all the year round and feature numerous art installations as well as some wonderful seasonal planting in the gardens leading to the chateau.
I just wished I had allowed a full day at Chaumont – I based on my timing on my previous visit – a big mistake. Until the end of August the gardens are also open from 10pm to midnight for Jardins de Lumiere when both the chateau and its gardens are illuminated. www.domaine-chaumont.fr