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The Gardener's Year


garden inspiration

Apremont-sur-Allier is classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France and at its heart is a stunning botanic garden. Lucia Latenstein digs deeper

We're slightly 'off piste' this month, 18 km from Nevers, over the border into the Cher department.
June is the best month for visiting gardens and this one at Apremont-sur-Allier, described as a floral park, is worth going out of your way for.

Harmonious stone walls from the local quarry, clad with tumbling roses, here everything is picture postcard perfect. This village on the banks of the river could be a film set. In the 1930s politician and industrialist Eugène Schneider of Le Creusot fame, bought the castle and the village from his wife, Antoinette de Rafelis Saint-Sauveur's family and with the help of architect M. de Galéa he renovated and transformed the buildings in the medieval style to make for conformity throughout.

The village is a good indication of things to come in the garden. This was opened in 1976, following the design of Gilles de Brissac and there are many surprises in store. Admire the topiary, take the curved path under the pergola burgeoning with blue and white wisteria. You can see the English inspiration taken from Vita Sackville West's white and silver garden at Sissinghurst and appreciate the work that went into transforming and damming the old quarry to create a waterfall.

Then be transported to foreign parts. Dotted in the garden there are follies designed by Russian painter Alexander Serebriakoff and his sister Catherine. There is the bridge influenced by a Chinese pagoda and temple, the little Turkish pavilion showing the splendour of the Ottoman Empire and the Russian inspired Belvedere where eight panels have been created in ceramic along the lines of Serebriakoff's original paintings. These were made at the Montagnon pottery in Nevers, famous for decorated earthenware, faïence. Shown right, the Venice scene.


The garden at Apremont-sur-Allier is open every day from the 13th of April until the 30th September from 10.30 to 12.30 and 14.00 to 18.30. There is a restaurant, or take a picnic to enjoy by the side of the river.

18150 Apremont-sur-Allier
0033 (0)2 48 77 55 06

©Lucia Latenstein
Hameau de Fontenille
19, Rue du Ponceau
+33(0) 386 18 19 44 +33(0) 6 4015 4793