RO­MAN­TIC AND UNUSUAL

Ma­jo­lan Park has the of­fi­cial la­bel of ‘Re­mar­kable Gar­den’ and, in ad­di­tion to its sur­roun­dings, of­fers a ru­ral and his­to­ry-filled ex­cur­sion, right on Blan­que­fort’s doors­tep.

Bordeaux Moments - - Nature -

Jean-au­guste Pi­ga­neau was a ban­ker who mar­ried well. Du­ring the se­cond part of the 19th cen­tu­ry, his wealth grew consi­de­ra­bly. Ei­ther to give com­fort to his sick daugh­ter or to sa­tis­fy his me­ga­lo­ma­nia- whi­che­ver sto­ry you pre­fer- he blew a part of his for­tune on trans­for­ming an area of mar­sh­land in­to a vast or­na­men­tal park. Thus, Ma­jo­lan was born, culti­va­ted in the style of the 19th cen­tu­ry’s in vogue ro­man­tic gar­dens. The rare fra­grances from the trees, the dense la­by­rinths, the ro­cke­ries, the faux ruins and the ce­ment bridges that criss-cross to­wards the 4 hec­tare lake form a land­scape that wouldn’t be out of place in a Le­wis Car­roll no­vel. A par­ti­cu­lar high­light is the ar­ti­fi­cial caves that lead up to a glo­riette on a pro­mon­to­ry. In their ze­nith, they used to be home to an aqua­rium that was lit by a glass wall. Af­ter a per­iod of re­la­tive aban­don, the park un­derwent a subtle re­no­va­tion by a land­sca­per, an ar­chi­tect and a mo­saic ar­tist in 2008, which led to it ear­ning the ‘Re­mar­kable Gar­den’ la­bel. At the nor­thern boun­da­ry, the do­main’s for­mer “mo­del” farm has been trans­for­med in­to an ar­tis­tic and agri­cul­tu­ral cultu­ral space. Ex­hi­bi­tions and events take place be­side a sheep’s milk far­mer’s trans­for­ma­tion lab, ma­tu­ring room and sa­les­room. At the sou­thern en­trance, from Eas­ter to All Saints' Day, there is a ca­fé res­tau­rant and a bu­co­lic ter­race that brigh­tens up any trip, which- for the most cou­ra­geous- can be roun­ded off by going in­to the neigh­bou­ring fields downs­tream from the ri­ver where you come out on­to the large re­mains of a for­tress. The for­tress was at the centre of Guyenne's most im­por­tant wars; it hos­ted Ed­ward Wood­stock, more com­mon­ly known as the Black Prince, as well as his illus­trious hos­tage, John the Good, King of France and the un­for­tu­nate he­ro at the Bat­tle of Poi­tiers (1356). The two men re­por­ted­ly sha­red a love of chess.

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