Etretat gardens …a magical place on the cliffs d’Amont in Étretat, with an exceptional view of the famous Aiguille.
Inspired by Claude Monet
Poetically mixing landscape art and land-art sculptures, the gardens seem to have been there forever. The neo-futurist Etretat gardens extend over the cliffs of the Côte d’Albâtre, one of the wonders of Normandy with a view listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens are part of a set of volumes in topiary where the landscape, contemporary art, architecture and dialogue in all poetry. The project won the European Garden Award in the category “Best enhancement of a historic garden” and has the Remarkable Garden label. Story At the end of the 19th century, a French comic actress, Madame Thébault, named Villa Roxelane after one of her famous roles, that of the legendary wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Madame Thébault was a friend of Claude Monet, who often worked on his paintings in Etretat. In 1905, inspired by the artist, Madame Thébault decided to create a garden on the Amont cliff that would reflect the work of Monet with avant-garde elements mixed with a touch of impressionism.
A process borrowed from André Lenôtre
The garden’s famous and iconic view of the English Channel and the cliffs inspired such famous painters as Claude Monet, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Eugène Delacroix, Edouard Manet and Vassili Polenov. In 2017, Alexandre Grivko, a famous landscape architect fascinated by this history, gave back their nobility to the Gardens of Etretat. Plant sculptures evoke the nature of the Normandy coast, while more than a hundred thousand plants ensure the gardens their beauty throughout the year. The aim was to bring together the historical and artistic elements of the old garden and contemporary architectural ideas. A unique collection of modern art is displayed with talent in the Jardins d’Etretat, allowing visitors to contemplate nature and the surrounding world through the prism of art. Alexandre Grivko managed to create in two years an ensemble that seems to be half a century old. One of the processes implemented to achieve this feat was borrowed from the great classical master of the art of parks and gardens, known throughout the world for having created the royal garden of Versailles, André Le Nôtre. To create the park of Versailles in record time, Le Nôtre had used only a limited quantity of plant species, however he managed to obtain exceptional visual effects thanks to meticulous pruning.
An open-air contemporary art museum
The space of the Jardins d’Etretat is made up of large compositions of pruned plants: they echo the landscapes and nature of Normandy. You will see plants with different shapes: “waves of the English Channel“, “spirals and marine whirlpools”, “oyster farms”, “cliffs and arches of the Alabaster Coast”, etc. This is an opportunity to highlight the biodiversity and natural beauty of the ecosystem, as well as to show new sculptural forms and new architectural processes in landscape art. Les Jardins d’Étretat is an open-air contemporary art museum that offers a collection of works of art. The impressive marriage of pruned plants and contemporary sculptures gives each part of the garden a unique atmosphere and character. The permanent exhibition of contemporary sculptures is an indivisible architectural entity. Without it, the thought, dramaturgy, mood and artistic unity of the gardens would be lost. The Double Jeu temporary exhibition is scheduled for the opening of the summer seasons. Its objective is to develop the social, natural and artistic environment, to contribute to creativity, to the reinforcement of ethical values, and to protect the historical and cultural heritage.