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Jardin à la française

This classic French formal garden forms a stunning backdrop to the magnificent property owned by Champagne House Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Ay.

The present garden replaces the original English landscape garden with its trees, thickets, winding paths and kitchen garden. Actual redesign work began in 1818, but the garden we see today is based on plans drawn up by Charles Roland-Billecart himself in 1926.
The garden is arranged around two pathways that lead from the house, combining the aesthetic of French classicism with the grandeur of chestnut and Japanese pagoda trees. Box topiary balls alternating with flowerbeds and turf parterres serve to highlight the different levels of the garden. Planting keeps pace with the seasons — begonias, sage and impatiens in Spring, myosotis in winter — and the layout of the garden is revisited on a regular basis. As Bernadette Roland-Billecart points out: "When it comes to gardening, movement is life".

Vines and gardening— one and the same passion
Just as the vine requires constant attention, so a garden must be patiently tended to ensure the best show of flowers when the fine weather finally returns. The flowering of Champagne vines is another long-awaited event— that ephemeral blossom that holds such promise for the future wines ... The garden is an ode to flowers but also to vines, concealing its charms behind stone walls covered in Virginia Creeper that also rambles over the family house overlooking the park. A single chestnut tree reaches into the sky above the walls, the last surviving remnant of the garden as it was first planted more than 200 years ago.

More than just a feast for the eyes, the garden now symbolizes Billecart-Salmon Champagne in its own right. It epitomises the art of fine living, born out of a passion and a tradition passed down through the generations. The image of the garden, endlessly reproduced throughout the local community, says more about the brand than words could ever say. It is a secret garden that only opens its doors for two days in June, "so that garden lovers everywhere can discover its charms", explains Bernadette Roland-Billecart. Visitors range from the simply curious to gardening devotees and amateur botanists. The experience itself is achingly brief but just enough time to share in a family passion for gardening that survives intact to the present day.