The castle of Chaumont, surrounded by its gardens (Eric Sander / Domaine de Chaumont @)

The domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire definitely does not lack creativity. For its 28th edition, the International Garden Festival will be held on the theme of "Gardens of Paradise". A beautiful idea! "Is not heaven the place where the souls of the righteous and the angels reside? Place of innocence and delights, to which the whole humanity aspires, is it not this dream of infinite happiness, which guides the minds, for millennia? Asked Chantal Colleu-Dumond, the director of the Chaumont estate, presenting the 2019 edition to the press.

The garden is, from all eternity, the figure of paradise, with the purifying water of the fountains, the beneficent shade of the trees, the delicious perfume of the flowers, the sweet freshness of the evening breezes … The words are confused? "Pairidaēza" meant, we know, garden in Persian.

This garden inspired by Michel Houellebecq's book, "The Possibility of an Island", was one of the 26 ephemeral creations presented last year in Chaumont-sur-Loire (@PB)

A place of happiness, where one enjoys unmixed happiness and a miraculous balance, the garden is thus "a space of dreams and forgetting the real". But today, humanity may need to design a new earthly paradise, mixing the natural and the artificial. From there to imagine that we are at the dawn of a new "Renaissance", there is only one step that the domain of Chaumont crosses briskly.

Landscapers and other garden designers who participate in the 2019 edition by presenting ephemeral gardens specially designed for Chaumont, have also proposed a contemporary vision combining vision utopian dream of this elsewhere and inventions of our time. In terms of materials like plants.

This ephemeral garden presented during the 2018 season by two collectives, Paysagistes sans frontières and Moonwalklocal, was inspired by a book by Jorge Luis Borges, The Sand Book. (@PB)

The 2019 edition of the festival will open on April 25th. Let's hope that it will be as successful as that of 2018, dedicated to "gardens of thought". A little advice, however: to come, it is better to wait a few weeks that the plants grow a little in the ephemeral gardens. They are only more beautiful to discover. Last year, we went there only in the first days of September. It was a festival of colors and shapes. It is also true that it was, from our point of view, a very good vintage.

In addition, two novelties in the field of plants will mark the 2019 season in Chaumont. In October, in association with nurseries defenders of quality and plant biodiversity, a new event will be born: the Botanicals of Chaumont-sur-Loire. It will take the form of days of meetings, advice and sale of exceptional plants, rare and high without pesticides, in a spirit opposed to the standardization and the impoverishment of the species.

A second event dedicated to the celebration of the plant is also announced: the presentation of remarkable floral compositions designed by artists and decorators, French and foreign. It is a tribute to the Prince and Princess de Broglie, the last private owners of Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, who were true plant lovers and maintained collections of orchids, exotic green plants and flowering plants, which earned them many medals in the French horticultural competitions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

In the gardens, last summer, this extraordinary turquoise glass sculpture by American Dale Chihuly (@PB) was presented.

Never running out of ideas to valorize the Chaumont estate, the director, Chantal Colleu-Dumond, introduced, many years ago, contemporary art in the park and in several spaces of the castle. This season again, twelve new artists will be

invited to Chaumont-sur-Loire. Thus, in the west and south wings of the Castle, will be hung dreamlike landscapes of the great Chinese artist Gao Xingjian, also Nobel Prize for Literature, with the title Call for a new Renaissance. 2019 will also see the return of the talented Ghanaian artist El Anatsui: he will install boats, standing in front of the river, symbol of forgotten "passeurs", serving men, materials and ideas … This season will also see the director Agnès Varda make dialogue sunflowers and films of abandoned copies of his old films …

Paula Boyer

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