Japanese gardens immediately became fashionable when they were discovered by Europeans visiting the archipelago at the beginning of the Meiji era (1868-1912). Profoundly different from classical or English gardens, they are a reproduction of the world or nature in miniature. This is how artificial hill gardens, with their lake and emblematic red bridge, dry temple gardens, with their decoration of rocks, moss and gravel, or tea gardens, with a codified route, have been reproduced in Europe.
These gardens are particularly beautiful in early spring, when the magnolias or cherry trees bloom spectacularly, and in the fall, when the foliage of the Asian trees takes on extravagant colors.
The Pierre-Baudis garden, in Toulouse
Created in 1981, the Japanese garden of Toulouse, with an area of 7,000 mtwo, occupies part of the vast Compans-Caffarelli public garden. Designed by the Department of Gardens and Green Spaces, it was named in honor of the former mayor of the Pink City, Pierre Baudis. it is a garden with style tsukiyamareproduction of nature in miniature, with artificial hills, a reflecting pool and an island that evokes paradise, which is completed, partly enclosed by walls, with a dry garden.
A tea pavilion, which looks like something out of a Hokusai print, is inspired by the famous Katsura Palace, erected in Kyoto in the 17th century.me century. The emblematic red bridge, the sacred color in Japan, is a link between the world of men and that of the gods. Other elements, minerals – skilfully arranged vertical rocks, a sea of sand or a river of dry gravel – compose with the vegetation – cherry blossoms, maples, bamboos or cloud-shaped bushes – a serene and inspiring landscape.
In the Compans-Caffarelli garden, boulevard Lascrosses, Toulouse. Free entrance. practical information about Toulouse-tourisme.com
The eastern park of Maulévrier, in Maine-et-Loire
At the beginning of the 20th century, the “largest Japanese garden in Europe” was createdme century by the architect Alexandre Marcel. A lover of Asian art, the creator of the set for the La Pagode cinema in Paris had transported casts of statues and a copy of a temple to the park on his estate in Maulévrier (which then included the neighboring Château Colbert). Universal Exhibition of 1900. There he built a false pagoda and installed an emblematic red bridge that leads to the symbolic “paradise islands”.
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