Monday, May 28, 2012

Gardens and More

I spent a delightful two hours Sunday afternoon exploring some new places in one of my favorite villages...St. Cirq Lapopie. Officially designated one of the plus beaux villages (most beautiful villages) in France, St. Cirq is full of artisan shops, tiny picturesque ruelles, and lovely restaurants. I usually pay a visit to its fortified church and climb up to the ruined Chateau at the top of the village. This trip, though, was a bit different. It was organized jointly by the Maison des Art Georges Pompidou in Cajarc (it's a center for contemporary art that sponsors internships for artists in St. Cirq) and the Parc Naturel Regional des Causses du Quercy (the association that runs the national parkland here). It was a guided tour through the gardens of  Maison Daura, former home of painter, Pierre Daura, a talk by the garden specialist whose project it is to restore the garden and terrace at the Musee Joseph Rignault, and historical commentary by our tour guide. While I didn't understand a lot of the French, my friends Ankie and Jean filled in the gaps for me
We accessed the museum via a back path that wandered through a small meadow with stunning views of the valley below.

While our guide spoke to us about both the medieval history of the village and the artists of the 20th century who lived and worked here, like Daura, Andre Breton, Rignault, and ManRay, she was able to show us examples of their work on her iPad...oh, the wonders of modern technology!
This is the paysagist explaining to us how he will restore this medieval garden and terrace and imbue it with a sense of imagination that will complement the avant garde and modern artists who worked here. It's a trick the French pull off very well...think of the I.M.Pei pyramid in the courtyard of the I'm eager to return when the project's complete to see how he manages!
Our tour ended here at here at the maison de la Fourdonne, another museum and visitor center for the village. More lovely views up the valley of the Lot and...
into the soul of the village. I've uploaded a public folder to Facebook with some photos of the beautiful garden elements we were able to see. Click here to view it.


  1. Makes me want to return to St-Cirq-Lapopie as soon as possible (well, that can't be sooner than when I visit France) :-)

  2. I'm very fond of Saint-Cirq but don't go there very often. Your photos are great. Like all these places, out of season is probably the best time to see it.