Les Jardins de Marqueyssac are located in the ‘commune’ of Vezac in the Dordogne, about thirty kilometres from Perigord-Retreats, and are the most visited gardens of the Aquitaine region. Set on more than 4 miles of walkable footpaths; you will be able to appreciate the 150 000 boxwood centenaries, planted every 8 inches. These shrubs, with rounded shapes, are cut twice a year by hand shears so as not to damage the boxwood.
For a little more information, the technique of trimming shrubs for decorative purposes, whether in geometric shapes, animals, characters, etc., is called topiary art.
Why did you choose boxwood? The enormous rocks on which the Marqueyssac Gardens are located are composed mainly of limestone, without much soil and with very little water. The boxwood is a very old and resistant vegetation. It can also be called evergreen because it does not lose its leaves and does not change color. Moreover, it does not need much water, which makes this shrub a good candidate to settle permanently in Marqueyssac.
The gardens of Marqueyssac, of picturesque style (from the Italian pittoresco that means painter) and romantic, are privately owned by the same owners who also hold Castelnaud Castle that can be seen from the gardens (another of our excursion destinations).
During this visit, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the village of La Roque Gageac, elected 3rd most beautiful village of France in 2017. You can also admire the Dordogne river below, on which many canoes and gabarres sail From spring to autumn. These boats are traditionally flat-bottomed vessels, now used for tourism, but which used to be used for the transport of goods.
The second part of the gardens is somewhat different from what you have just seen. This garden under construction is called Chaos. The explanation is this: do you see all these cubes? Do not they give you the impression of being blocks of stone running down the hill like a landslide? For this garden with geometric shapes, the workers use scrap iron gabaries to cut the boxwood that has not arrived at its size and definitive shape.
Finally, every Thursday evening in July and August, you can visit the Jardins de Marqueyssac at sunset to light up thanks to thousands of candles, event called Marqueyssac aux chandelles. You will be charmed by this romantic and mysterious ride, and you will be attracted by the notes of the pianist who will give your visit a magical and fairytale aspect!
This blog post was written by Katel our native french speaker.