A MUSEUM OF
actress Madame Thébault created this garden in 1903, inspired by the Impressionist
painter, Claude Monet, who himself was a keen gardener. He is the one to whom the
garden owes its ambience and originality, faithfully preserved to the present day.
All images © Les Jardins d'Etretat
At the heart
of the natural wonder of Normandy, on the top of the cliff towering along the
Alabaster Coast, hides a villa, built in this splendid garden that sprawls
across the White Cliffs. Madame Thébault named it Roxelana, in commemoration of
the role that had catapulted her to the heights of cinema stardom. Roxelana was
the beloved wife of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
d’Étretat overhang the famous Amont Cliff, which attracts painters from all
over the world. It was on the very terraces of Les Jardins d’Étretat that
Claude Monet painted his Cliffs at Etretat series, regarded among the greatest
works of art ever produced.
Grivko is a landscape architect, a creative power behind Les Jardins d’Étretat.
Originally from Russia, he is the art director of the garden design and landscaping
company Il Nature with representations in Russia, France and the UK.
In 2016, Les Jardins
d’Étretat in Normandy was laid out in partnership with a new business
associate, collector of contemporary art. It is now the first garden, existing
within the planned international network of art gardens open to the public.
‘Avatar’ means the descent of the divinity upon Earth, namely, the guardian
of creation, incarnate in the universe. This arrangement is symbolically set at
the entrance to the gardens, balancing between the real world and the gateway
to the surreal fairy-tale made of plant sculptures, where even the trees make music.
has been modelled after Marie-Antoinette’s first French oyster park, which
historically lies at the foot of Les Jardins d’Étretat and is now home to a set
of expressive faces. The garden plants are shaped to resemble a seabed.
historical part of the garden overlooks the Étretat cliffs. The plants seem to
embody the flowing water, along with the tides and ebbs of the English Channel
washing over the cliffs. This is the vantage point from which Claude Monet made
a series of stunning landscapes while working on the upper terrace of the
This is the
meeting point for artists, where one may discover magical plants inspired by
the world of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the yew arches that symbolize the famous
Aval Cliff of Étretat.
Zen philosophy, the garden embodies the harmony between man and nature. The
garden houses a sound installation, evoking the ideas of Gesamtkunstwerk.
Hanging in the air, these earthenware pieces add to the calming sonic ambiance
of the garden, as the word ‘art’ resounds in every language imaginable, both
dead and alive, to represent the divine harmony of creation.
centrepiece is composed of hedge mazes, shaped like waves, crashing against the
cliffs and arches of Etretat.
majestically towers above the lower slopes of Les Jardins d’Étretat, imitating
the rocky layers of the White Cliffs of Normandy.