Tag Archives | excursions

Chaumont Garden Festival

When we went to France in the summer, because we were in the Loire Valley we visited a lot of chateaux.  Unsurprisingly, after a few days of this the kids (and I) began to get chateauitis.  So we started to find ways that DH could indulge his passion for looking round them while entertaining the kids in other ways.

At Chaumont there was a brilliant garden festival in the grounds.  The kids were a bit dubious as to the entertainment value, but they soon decided it was worth it.   The grounds were divided into several different sections, like small rooms and each had been made into an original garden by a sponsor.   The Garden Festival website has a link to each garden with an English version.

The entrance to the festival interested me especially.  It had sculptures made from rusty poles.

rust sculpture

rusty sculpture

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will not be surprised to hear that I wanted to enhance it with some fabric!

They especially liked the one sponsored by the French railway company, SNCF, called Just Move It.  It had tubs and sections on bits of railway line which you could push and pull about to rearrange it to suit the way you wanted it.

garden planters on railway tracks

Another noteworthy garden had lots of planters up in the air suspended by wires:

planters up in the air on wires

And yet another made the garden look bigger using mirrors:

garden with mirrors

They also had an interesting garden where you could move various ‘screens’ to frame the flowers planted behind.  This made me think of the use of aperture cards to find interesting portions of a design which we learnt about at City & Guilds.

garden with 'frames' in front

I also liked this garden where they had painted tree trunks blue to make a very sculptural, and rather eery set of figures…

blue tree trunk figures

They marched off across this lake as well:

sculptural blue figures across lake

They had a graffiti garden, too!

fence with graffiti

A few images from France

A sweet shop in Tours.  Unfortunately for the kids, it was closed!

sweet shop window all shuttered up

I liked this pyramid shaped ‘roof’ sprouting up from the ground.  It seemed to have a staircase leading to somewhere mysterious down in the depths…

glass pyramid

These ropes were carved into the wall of a house in Tours:

ropes carved in stone

A boat on the river Loire…

boat on river Loire

I was amused by this one – it reminded me of Noah’s Ark!

Boat like Noah's ark

Our gite

I suppose I ought to put all of these snippets into context and show you where we stayed. We were north of Tours, in the region known as the Gatine near Beaumont la Ronce. We stayed in a gite –

cottage in France

Here it is – it was a converted farm building joined to a barn, part of a working farm. It was so peaceful there.

harvested wheatfield

This was the field up the lane from the gite.


I love these poppies growing wild by the sides of the fields. They were rich with wild flowers. I saw St Johns Wort and origano.

field of sunflowers

As well, of course, as the ubiquitous field of sunflowers. Ubiquitous in that region, anyway.

field of sunflowers taken on the move

I took this one from the car – I love the impressionist effect.

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