a french garden

Les Jardins de Colette

22 Comments

After the honey harvest, Amelia and I gave ourselves a few days of holiday and went to the Corrèze region of France.  We discovered that the area around Brive-la-Gaillarde was both beautiful and had so many pretty towns and attractions that we promised ourselves to return in future.

One of the calmest and most wonderful visits we made was to the Gardens of Colette.  Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, simply known as Colette, was a famous French writer, who was born in 1873 and died in 1954.  She is the second woman that has been admitted among the ten members of the literary l’académie Goncourt.  

The garden at Varetz was created in 2007 to celebrate Colette’s life and work.  It is near the Chateau de Castel Novel which at one time belonged to Henri de Jouvenel, the second husband of Colette.  Colette wrote several of her books in that Chateau.  The garden covers over 5 hectares of land and represents six different regions of France where she lived and which influenced her writing.

flower bed at the Gardens of Colette

Colette maintained her independent thoughts on how she led her life.  In her writings. she expressed her free thinking:   ” Une femme qui se croit intelligente réclame les mêmes droits que l’homme. Une femme intelligente y renonce. ” – “The woman who thinks she is intelligent demands equal rights with men. A woman who is intelligent does not.”  

I loved the simple rose that is named after her.

Rose Colette

Rose Colette

IMG_2227

She was certainly a beautiful woman and also had a great sense of humour. She said that she regretted nothing that she had done in her life.  One could not help but smile when she wrote:  “When she raises her eyelids, it’s as if she were taking off all her clothes.”

Colette

Colette

She lived life to the fullest and she wrote: “Faites des bêtises, mais faites-les avec enthousiasme.” – “Do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!”

What I liked most about the garden was its simplicity; its oneness with nature, with arrangements that were sympathetic with the kind of life that Colette had lived.  We walked through the Tunnel végétal to reach the Jardin Provençal, remembering when she lived in Saint Tropez (1926-1938).

Tunnel végétal

Tunnel végétal

Amelia was in her elements, taking pictures of her favourite flowers and bees.  September can be such a beautiful month in Corrèze.

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The garden of Corrèze reflected the period that she lived in Castel Novel at Varetz (1911 – 1923) , just behind the present garden.  The flowers and the rock really captured the beauty of that countryside.

Jardin 4 - Corrèze

Jardin 4 – Corrèze

There is a little seat in the vegetable garden which really took my fancy.  Of course Colette did not see this garden, but I would like to imagine her sitting there some time before her death at the age of 81, and writing the piece in her novel, The Vagabond.  “So now, whenever I despair, I no longer expect my end, but some bit of luck, some commonplace little miracle which, like a glittering link, will mend again the necklace of my days.”

le potager

le potager

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22 thoughts on “Les Jardins de Colette

  1. Thanks for sharing your visit to this charming garden.

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  2. Lovely photos of a beautiful location. I enjoyed too your sharing some of the author’s thoughts and words. “Faites des bêtises, mais faites-les avec enthousiasme.”–that could be my personal motto.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your adventure…and broadening my understanding and appreciation for France.

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  4. I like the rustic look of the tunnel and of course the flowers.

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    • In that case you would have liked seeing the garden. I only took a few photos. There were so many truly rustic corners in the garden – even a cute dock pond and lovely chickens. – Kourosh

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I knew nothing of Colette or her writing until now, how wonderful to have a rose and a garden named after you.

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    • Isn’t that wonderful! I can’t think anything more romantic as having a garden and a rose named after one. But somehow Kourosh does not match a rose. Does it? May be an apple or a plum tree? – Kourosh

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  6. Hello K,
    I too know nothing of Colette, so this is a great WP Post for me – lovely photos, taking me there, and some really great quotes from her work. Thank You, BW Julian

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  7. A delightful place to find yourselves. And yes, “faites des bêtises, mais faites-les avec enthousiasme” is my new motto (replacing a ‘worthier’ but less attractive one).

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    • So glad you enjoyed “walking” with me through the garden. Colette must have lived a strange life, but one cannot but admire her independence of mind. I do wish that we all could do some silly things from time to time. – Kourosh

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am so glad I found your post. I grew Collette against a white picket fence when I gardened in Connecticut and never knew who this rose was named for! I can remember reading her for the first time as a young woman and was struck by her independent thinking. Little did I know years later, a rose in her honor would be growing at the front of our home!

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    • Jayne, your comment made my effort all worthwhile. I was hesitant writing this post on my wife (Amelia)’s blog. But I was so charmed by the Garden of Colette.
      You must have some French blood in you since outside France not many people read Colette. She did live an unconventional life, but we can only admire her independence of mind.
      Thank you so much for writing and I am so pleased that you liked the post. – Kourosh

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  9. Thank you for bringing us the story of Colette and yes, I so totally agree: “The woman who thinks she is intelligent demands equal rights with men. A woman who is intelligent does not.”

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    • Thank you, Emma. I am glad you liked the post.
      I also enjoy regularly reading your posts and learning more about bees.
      This will be my first winter with our four hives and I am trying my best to prepare them for the winter, even though here it does not get too cold and even in November and December there are warm days and flowers for the bees. – Kourosh

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