Going to Japan while staying in France, does that tell you ? Do not miss to go for a walk in the biggest Japanese garden in europe !
Decoration from the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900
This Japanese garden was created between 1899 and 1913 thanks to the orientalist architect Alexandre Marcel and the gardener Alphonse Duveau. Cut shrubs, water points, bridges, rocks, wooden or cut stone constructions, everything is there to immerse you in a magical world. A Parisian architect, he won numerous international competitions and prizes. At the end of the 19th century, Alexandre MARCEL became passionate, as was the fashion of the time, for Orientalism and in particular Japonism. During the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900, Alexandre MARCEL was in charge of creating three pavilions: that of Cambodia, that of Spain and especially that of the Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes: the Panorama du Tour du Monde. This panorama consisted of four buildings, the tallest of which was a Japanese tower with multiple roofs. The Cambodia Pavilion, Khmer style, was at the Trocadero; it was accessed by impressive staircases guarded by stone lions. At the end of the Exhibition, Alexandre Marcel bought some elements to install them in the Japanese landscape of Maulévrier. This is how this Japanese garden was born.
Water is the main element of the design
A soothing walk awaits you in this place full of symbols. A place that evokes the cycle of life, rebirth, harmony or even serenity. You can of course enjoy the garden during the day, but you can also visit it at night. An idyllic setting lit by Japanese lanterns. The style of the garden is similar to the large promenade parks of the EDO period (early 17th century to late 19th century). The design of the garden is based on a few main principles :
• Water is the main element of the design, it occupies approximately 3/10th of the landscaped surface. A circulation of water must cross the garden from east to west: such is the orientation of the course of the river “la Moine” in the park. The body of water (lake or pond) is considered the “heart” of the garden. It is located in the middle of the park, it is the most worked and sensitive place.
• 2 islands are located on the lake (or pond), these are the islands of paradise, or islands of immortal beings, called crane island and turtle island.
• The creation of perspectives allowing a progressive discovery of the garden. • The representation of natural or mythical landscapes: mountains, rocky coasts.
• Borrowing landscapes outside the garden.
• The circulation of water symbolizes the course of the sun but also the life of a man, from birth to death, and, between these two periods, the numerous transformations and evolutions that all the elements and living beings can undergo ( plants, water, people).
• The watercourse which crosses the garden of the Pagoda can be compared to the cycle of life: each stage of this watercourse evokes a particular period, and its symbolism (ex: the expanse of the lake represents old age and retirement, a period of wisdom, serenity, knowledge and experience).
• The vegetation is rich in around 400 species, made up of spring-flowering plants, summer-flowering plants or plants that take on interesting colors in the fall, and evergreens. In this way, all the seasons are marked and we note over the year a “transformation of the garden” which symbolizes the different stages of life (eg the flowering and development of plants in the spring represents the birth and the youth).
In addition to walks in this magnificent place, the Parc Oriental de Maulévrier offers activities for all ages to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. The garden also offers workshops for creating kokedama (vegetal decorative art similar to bonsai) and miniature Japanese landscapes.
Oriental Park – Jardin Japonais de Maulévrier,
Route de Mauléon, 49360 MAULEVRIER