Visit Les Jardins de Marqueyssac
The gardens of Marqueyssac are an enchanting swirl of box hedges set high above the Dordogne river. The Marqueyssac gardens are near to Beynac and La Roque-Gageac and offer fabulous views over the villages.
Explore the Jardins de Marqueyssac
The gardens of Marqueyssac are one of France's listed 'Jardins Remarquable'. They sit high above the Dordogne river and as you wander through the gardens you get some amazing views of the river below. These gardens are the most visited in the Perigord area.
The gardens were designed by a student of André Le Notre - famous designer of the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles.
When you enter the gardens by the Chateau of Marqueyssac the surrounding garden is a sort of crazy formal French style garden. Laid out in traditional French style as far as lots of clipped box goes this has been given a dramatic twist by clipping the box hedges into a mass of swirls, whorls and rounds giving the areas a dynamism not often seen in this type of gardening.
The overall effect is absolutely stunning. The vivid green, the extraordinary shapes and patterns and the backdrop of the lovely Dordogne countryside is not to be missed.
Wander a bit further from the chateau and you will see the long promenade added to the gardens at the end of the 18th century. This is bordered with immaculately manacured clipped rosemary and santoline.
Below and beyond the chateau the garden becomes a pleasant stroll along the wooded cliff top with lots of box planted in the woods. Altogether there are 150 000 hard pruned box trees in the gardens! Clearings reveal picnic areas and swings and quiet areas to sit and contemplate the views.
There is also a waterfall and an interesting collection of "heads" in the woods and various small buildings hidden amongst the trees.
Altogether there are 6 km of walks divided into three main paths: a cliff path; a high walk and the great walk which has easy access for pushchairs or wheelchairs. All of these lead to a large viewpoint at the end of the garden. The great walk also has a shuttle in high season to transport you to the belvedere if you need it.
There is a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the views, as well as a tea-room and a bookshop. In 2017 a skeleton of a carnosaur is displayed at Marqueyssac and reminds us that dinosaurs once wandered these lands!
Les Jardins de Marqueyssac were one of the first of the sites in the Dordogne to offer evening visits. A trend which is becoming more and more popular. Evening visits allow you to visit in the comfortable evening temperatures and to experience a quite different atmosphere.
Marqueyssac evening visits, called Marqueyssac aux Chandelles (Marqueyssac by candlelight), are on Thursday nights in July and August and you can explore Marqueyssac by candlelight. With music and animations as well as some entertainment for children. These start at 7 pm and go on until midnight.
Visiting the Jardins de Marqueyssac
The gardens are about 9 km SW of Sarlat in the commune of Vezac.
The gardens are open every day of the year.
July and August: 09.00 to 20.00 (plus Thursday evenings 19.00 to 24.00, see above)
April, May, June and September: 10.00 to 19.00
February, March and October-11 November: 10.00 to 18.00
12 November until 31 January: 14.00 to 17.00
Costs: 9.90 euros adult, 5 euros 10 to 17 year olds.
Where to visit nearby?
Garden lovers will also enjoy a visit to the Clos des Sources garden at Vitrac near Sarlat and not far from the Jardins de Marqueyssac. A visit to the village of La Roque Gageac is also great as the whole village has been planted with an amazing display of banana palms and other exotic plants. Wonderfull!
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.