vendredi 9 septembre 2011

Jardin Christian Dior, Granville, Normandy

Another holiday treat was a visit to the Christian Dior Garden in Granville, Normandy.  That is, the Christian Dior, the fashion designer (b 1905 d 1957).

His childhood home, 'les Rhumbs', acquired in 1905 by his parents has a gorgeous garden 'à l'anglaise'.  The house and garden, following their purchase by the town of Granville were opened to the public in 1938.

There is a good website with an English version which tells the history of the house (now a museum for Dior's creations, sketches, art collection and changing temporary exhibitions plus a discreet shop with a very beautiful salesperson).

I was particularly bowled over by the rose garden which was created by Dior's mother, Madeleine Dior along a sheltered path and restored again in 2002.  The roses are the old fashioned ones that smell divine.  I couldn't stop sniffing all over the place, which is fitting for the garden of a fashion designer who is equally well known for his perfumes.

In 1925 the young Christian Dior replaced the small green house by a pergola around a small pond and seating area.  This 'outdoor salon' is very much inspired by the Art Deco period.

There are simple and elegant dove grey (Dior colour adopted for his well known 'Dior' logo), benches offering comfort for those who wish to sit and drink in the atmosphere, a beautiful mosaic in blues and golds inspired by the name of the main house 'les Rhumbs' and a bust of the designer.  Camelias, hydrangeas and palms are planted and climbing roses, jasmine and clematis decorate the pergola structure.  A very restful area.

The garden is large with lawns, pretty planted areas, a bamboo arch and plenty of wonderful sea views.  If I had a criticism it would be that the flowerbeds of closely planted annuals seemed a bit 'municipal' and not particularly apt for a private home although there were some well maintained wilder and looser looking borders too.  The house, perched on the edge of the cliff, is simple inside with white walls and wooden varnished floors and it is fascinating to see Dior's wonderful, intricate creations close up.  Dresses every girl dreams of wearing!  I particularly liked his simple black and white illustrations where, with just a few strokes of the pencil, he describes perfectly and elegantly his next creation.

The garden is open to the public free of charge all the year round.  There is a charge to visit the house.

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