Walls can sometimes conceal strange secrets ... No-one would ever guess, for example, that behind the walls of this property in Cumières, owned by Champagne House Joseph Perrier, there is an exact replica of the botanical garden of the French National Assembly.
The garden was built in the 19th Century by Louis Dessain, whose father was a deputy in the Council of the Ancients at the end of the French Revolution. The street bordering the garden is still named after his son.
Designed to be visually pleasing, the garden remains true to its original intent of marrying the perspective effects of French formal gardens with a layout representing the tribune and hemicycle of the French National Assembly. The house and more particularly the flight of steps leading up to the entrance, represent the Tribune. The garden itself meanwhile symbolizes the Hemicycle, which is portrayed by the semicircular lawn bordered by linden trees and dotted with rose-beds — a welcome touch of colour when warm weather returns — and surrounded by a narrow path that leads off into a wooded area. A lake in the middle of the lawn reflects the house overlooking the garden and benches are provided at intervals for quiet contemplation, lulled by the lapping of the River Marne that flows indolently at the foot of the village. Times stands still in this tranquil environment where every footstep brings you closer to heaven ... It was in this haven of greenery that Champagne House Joseph Perrier originally had its headquarters. A press-house and small fermentation room together with other winemaking facilities that were installed in the house itself stand today as testaments to the property’s viticultural heritage. As Jean-Claude Fourmon, current president of Joseph Perrier Champagne points out, this private family house was once much more than just a leisure retreat or weekend getaway.
One of the first to tread its green lawns was Alphonse Pithois-Bertin, who promptly acquired the property together with several plots of vines adjoining the estate in Cumières, Hautvillers and Damery. Having established this family foothold in Champagne, explains Jean-Claude Fourmon, Alphonse’s son was ideally placed to take over ownership of Joseph Perrier Champagne in 1888. The property today serves as an exclusive venue for meetings with the brand’s international clientele, seducing visitors with its enchanting blend of discreet charm and stunning natural beauty.
Classically designed but highly original, the property speaks of times gone by. It reflects a tradition of gracious living that we see embodied in the hunting lodge, with its many trophies recalling the customs of the landed gentry. The garden is open to the public one day a year in June, as part of the "Visitez un jardin" event (garden open day). Dotted with roses in bloom, the garden never looks more beautiful than it does then ...