French industrialist, Eugène Schneider, clearly had a soft spot for pretty things.
With his financial support, Apremont-sur-Allier was saved from ruin and remade into the ideal French village.
What makes a village one of the most beautiful in France? First, no parking in the village!
Next, add a chateau up on a hill…
… some half-timbered houses with neatly trimmed hedges and romantic flower boarders…
… and finish it all off with a 12 acre Parc Floral designed in an 18th Century English-garden style. Et voilà!
Opened in the 1970s, the first part of the garden features a collection of restored medieval houses set in a large park.
Opposite the hamlet is a “white garden” modeled after the gardens at Sissinghurst in Kent.
The Chinese bridge was added in 1985.
The Turkish pavilion at the far end of the garden.
This pergola is dripping with wisteria flowers in the springtime. Just missed it!
A nicely landscaped water feature.
Some very big trees!
The Russian pavilion stands at the other end of the park. Nice gilt pineapple on top!
Inside the pavilion, there is a series of earthenware frescoes including this one of Apremont-sur-Allier. The tiles are contemporary but they fit the classical style of the garden.
One last look at the fantastic hedges!
Included with the park visit, you get free admission to the carriage museum in the old stables of the chateau.
This the “kitchen” where, according to my guidebook, they “cooked the horses meals.” Must have been a fancy stable.
The horses names are still hanging above the stalls.
Unfortunately, they also had a temporary exhibit of art of marionettes on display. Terrifying!
What is Albert Einstein doing here?
Despite the marionettes, we had a great day in Apremont-sur-Allier.