Apocalyptic Gardening for Dummies

This past Wednesday, I went to Chaumont to see the chateau and Garden Festival.  Even though Chaumont is not known as one of the most impressive chateaux in the Loire Valley, it was still breathtaking to turn a corner and see the drawbridge and white stone facade, especially since this is the first chateau I’ve visited so far.  I was there as part of the Institut’s excursion, so there was a professor who took us around inside and gave us some historical background.  It was very interesting, but I still found the exterior and the courtyard overlooking the Loire more impressive.


Proof that we got a little sun before it poured on the way back to Tours…


A pond on the grounds of the chateau

My favorite part of the afternoon, however, was the Garden Festival.  It’s an annual exhibition held on the grounds of the chateau, and the theme this summer was “Gardens of the Century to Come.”  The artists only have about two months to install their gardens, and they have to last from the end of April to the beginning of November.  It was fascinating to read the explanations of all the gardens and see how different artists interpreted the theme so differently.  Even so, I noticed a number of ideas – mainly ecological – start to emerge; there were several installations that fused gardens with houses, and there were also quite a few that touched on ecological disasters such as flooding and heat waves.  Although the chateau was very impressive, I wish I had left myself more time to wander the installations.  I’m not sure I got to all of them before I had to head back to the bus.


My favorite garden, which felt pretty appropriate after the recent flooding in France…

That’s all for now, but stay tuned – I can’t wait to tell you all about my weekend (hint: it involved French board games!).  A tout à l’heure!


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