Marqueyssac is a 17th century chateau and gardens located in the Dordogne département in southwest France . The charm of the Gardens of Marqueyssac has delighted its visitors for the last three centuries and there is no doubt that the site has become one of France’s most beautiful Italian-style gardens.
The chateau was built at the end of the 17th century by Bertrand Vernet de Marqueyssac, Counselor to Louis XIV, on cliffs overlooking the Dordogne Valley. The original garden featured terraces, alleys, and a kitchen garden surrounding the chateau. In the 1860s, the new owner, Julien de Cervel, began to plant thousands of boxwood trees and had them carved in fantastic shapes, many in groups of rounded shapes like flocks of sheep. He also added linden trees, cypress trees, and stone pine from Italy. Following the romantic style, he built rustic structures, redesigned the parterres, and laid out five km of walking paths.
In the second half 20th century the house was not frequented occupied, and the gardens were not well maintained. Beginning in 1996, a new owner, Kleber Rossillon, restored the gardens to their old character, and added some new features, including an alley of santolina and rosemary, and, in the romantic spirit of the 19th century, a course of water descending from the belvedere and ending in a cascade. The gardens were opened to the public in 1996.
Since 1997, the gardens have been classified amongst the Remarkable Gardens of France by the Committee of Parks and Gardens of the Ministry of Culture.
Today the gardens, which sits on 22 hectares, have more than 6 km of shaded paths in a maze of 150,000 boxwoods. You have the choice of a guided tour which lasts for 35 minutes, or wander the grounds yourself, which is estimated to take 1.5 hours, or do both.
Magical isn’t it? (But I would hate to be the person trimming all the hedges). For more information, including visitor hours and upcoming events, visit the official site: Jardin de Marqueyssac (Gardens of Marqueyssac).