Designed in the 17th century by a disciple of Le Nôtre, the grandiose gardens at Courson were transformed in the 19th century to become one of the most beautiful romantic gardens of France. Awarded the “Jardin Remarquable” (Remarkable Garden) Label in 2004 by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, the gardens at Courson are guaranteed to impress visitors.
A sumptuous romantic garden
The gardens at Courson are the result of some France's greatest landscape designers, particularly Louis-Martin Berthault, gardener to Empresses Joséphine and Marie-Louise, and the Bühler brothers, creators of the municipal gardens in Rennes, Lyon and Bordeaux under the Second Empire. At the beginning of the 20th century, several renowned landscape designers left their mark on the gardens, including Louis Benech, and Ernest de Caraman (the latter was influenced by the pioneering work of William Robinson and Gertrud Jekyll, both advocates of a natural or "wild" garden), as well as Timothy Vaughan, an English landscape designer, who studied at the botanical gardens of Kew and Wisley in the United Kingdom.
The four seasons : four faces of nature at Courson
A romantic English-style garden, the grounds at Courson offer splendid vantage points to walkers exploring its numerous pathways. Almost 3,000 recently-planted trees and shrubs grow alongside countless clusters of one-hundred-year-old trees, offering magnificient picturesque views that change with each season.
Admire a blaze of colour in the spring, when the camellias, prunus, magnolias, peonies, lilacs and azaleas are in bloom. In the summer, enjoy the lushness of the grounds and the heady scent of the roses and hydrangeas that blossom in the shade of centenary trees. Pause a moment to admire the Château perfectly reflected in the glittering waters of the lake. In the autumn, the scene is transformed when the collections of century-old oak trees, sweetgum, beech and dogwood gently wave their brown, red and golden leaves against clear blue skies. In the winter months, the scene is evocative of a winter landscape painting : the grounds are dusted with a sprinkling of snow, covering the plants and buildings with a delicate grey and white veil...
... the giant Sequoia tree on the grounds of the Estate, recipient of the "Arbre remarquable de France" (Remarkable Tree of France) Label from the A.R.B.R.E.S. Society. The gardens are also home to many unusual species, such as the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, the Pyramidal English Oak in the form of a chandelier, the Louisiana Bald Cypress, the American Tulip Tree and the Likiang spruce brought back from China by Roy Lancaster.
A memorable experience to enjoy time and again
If you enjoyed your visit to the gardens at Courson, be sure to come back again. Every year, new species, plants and flowers are added to the gardens thanks to the initiative of Hélène Fustier and Olivier de Nervaux-Loÿs, the grandchildren of Ernest de Caraman, and their spouses, offering visitors splendid natural surroundings that can be admired from year to year. The gardens are now home to a growing camellia collection, supervised by Max Hill, the former director for France of the International Camellia Society.