Dordogne Gardens | The Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac in the Dordogne
The Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac in the Dordogne
The Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac are unique gardens suspended high above the Dordogne River on a rocky outcrop. They are set in the grounds of the 17th century Chateau de Marqueyssac and are classified amoung the Notable Gardens of France by the Committee of Parks and Gardens of the French Ministry of Culture.
There are over 150,000 box wood trees planted in the garden with many of them carved in fantastic shapes, such as groups of rounded shapes like flocks of sheep. Also in the garden are linden trees, cypress trees, and stone pine from Italy, along with the cyclamen from Naples.
In the second half 20th century the house was rarely occupied and the gardens were not well maintained. Beginning in 1996, the gardens were restored some new features added including an alley of santolina and rosemary and, a course of water descending from the Belvedere and ending in a cascade.
The gardens were opened to the public in 1996 and are a highlight of a trip to the Dordogne offering not only a unique garden but a stunning view of the Dordogne Valley.
The Marqueyssac Gardens are situated between La Roque Gageac and Beynac.
Walks at Marqueyssac Gardens
There are over 6 kilometres of lovely walks throughout the Gardens of Marqueyssac that constitute a veritable labyrinth.
The Cliff Walk (la Promenade des Falaises)
This walk begins at the end of the Bastion, heading towards the Chapel. To take full advantage of the view of the garden, you can reach it by taking the Rosemary Path at the beginning of the High Walk. The Cliff Walk ends in two Waterfalls before going up to the Belvedere.
The High Walk (la Promenade des Hauteurs)
The starting point is on the corner of the chateau, going up to the Rosemary Path. The High Walk enables you to go to the three highest points in the estate: the Calvary , the Bell Hut and finally the Belvedere. This walk is hilly and it is not suitable for prams or those with walking difficulties.
The Great Walk and the shuttle (la Grande Allee)
This walk begins at the level of the Tea Room by a half-moon-shape bench and ends, 1600 meters further along, at the Poet’s Hut, this dry stone hut marks the estate boarder. From here you will get wonderful views of the valley. In high season, a shuttle service is available to bring you back to the chateau.
The Children’s Circuit and Playground (aires de jeux)
Great fun for the kids. There are two playgrounds with swings and huts. The first is at the base of the Belvedere, near the Waterfalls and the second one, near the Heath Hut. At the back of the chateau, near the arbour of the restaurant terrace,is the children’s labyrinth which is ideal for a game of hide and seek. To keep the children amused you can pick up a fun kids questionnaire are the information centre.
Festival and Activities
The Great Easter Egg Hunt
Held on the afternoons of Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Reservations are essential and can be made via the gardens website.
Rendez-vous au Jardin
Held on the first week end of June this national event features demonstrations on pruning, exhibitions, childrens activities and much more
Arts and Crafts Workshop
Create animal masks, mobile etc. Held during the French Easter and All Saints Day (November) school holidays and every holiday weekend during the months of May and June and everyday in July and August.
Introductory Level Rock Climbing
For children 6 years and above, this is held in summer most mornings except Saturday
Marqueyssac Candle Nights
Held every Thursday evening during July and August.