They says Monet used to paint from a corner in Les Jardin d’Etretat. And it’s impossible not to be inspired by his painting “The Cliff, Reflection on Water” when admiring a long sunset over the bay of this small town in Normandy.
Designed by the Russian landscape architect, Alexandre Grivko, of Il Nature, the garden is dedicated to Madame Thébault, a famous actress of the early twentieth century. She planted the first tree on this hill in 1903 and was a close friend of Monet.
Another legend has it that Queen Marie-Antoinette was behind the construction of the oyster beds in Etretat to satisfy her insatiable appetite for the shellfish. It’s no coincidence that the best place in town to get some juicy, delicious oysters is named after Marie-Antoniette herself!
The garden looks a little bit like a matrioska, with different small gardens and corners built inside the main one.
The Jardin Avatar with the Clockwork Forest installation by the British Collective Greyworld.
The Jardin Émotions inspired by those historical oyster beds; the Jardin Impressions dedicated to the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel. The Jardin d’Aval with its orchids that lead us through the labyrinth of the Jardin La Manche and finally to the Jardin d’Amont at the very top of the garden.
And finally my favorite: the Jardin Zen, which features an audio art installation by the Russian artist Sergey Katran called “Until The Word Is Gone”. A series of terracotta sculptures replicating the shape of sound waves generated by recordings of the word “art” being said in 125 different languages! It’s really impressive.
The weather at the end of May was perfect, the Atlantic Ocean gifted us beautiful sunsets, the air was clean, and all the people we met were very nice and welcoming.
Merci Les Jardin d’Etretat for the kind invitation! Until next time, France.