A Modern Take on the Classic Idea of a French Garden

A Modern Take on the Classic Idea of a French Garden

The Domaine National of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a quiet commune that lies just northwest of the City of Light, is running a free exhibition until October 14, 2013.  This exhibition provides a great opportunity for visitors to explore an area that is close to Paris yet off the beaten path.

The exhibition in Saint-Germain-en-Laye is called 'Nouvelles Folies' (or 'New Follies'), and it showcases 20 international artists who have ccreated new pieces just for this event. The entire exhibition is a tribute to master landscape artist Andre Le Nôtre, who was responsible for the design of the Domaine.

The interesting part about this exhibition is that the classic landscape designs of Le Nôtre are juxtaposed against the modern art pieces of 20 different contemporary artists. These artists were asked to create pieces inspired by the ornamental sculptures of Antiquity that began to appear in French gardens in the 18th century. At that time, the sculptures challenged the relationship between landscape and nature, and this relationship seems even more complex with the modern visions of the exhibition's artists.

This year marks the 400th birthday of Le Nôtre, hence the Domaine National's desire to create an exhibition celebrating his vision. By strolling through the quaint paths of the Domaine — while taking in works of art such as 'Not Yet My Story,' which features a bed floating in a water basin — visitors can experience the garden as Le Nôtre intended it. Although the sculptures may not have been what he had in mind, Le Nôtre always meant for his creations to be places of contemplation and relaxation.

Guests staying at one of the Grands Hôtels Parisiens can discover this modern take on a classic idea by visiting the Domaine National in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, easily accessible using Paris's RER train system.