“A place reminiscent of Lewis Caroll’s Wonderland infused with a hint of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Minas Tirith.” That would quite possibly be my answer if I were asked to describe the Château de Gourdon (TripAdvisor), located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in France.
The ancient village of Gourdon is perched on a rocky outcrop at a height of more than 500m overlooking the Loup Valley, with a view of Antibes and Cap Roux in the distance. A large chunk of the village is made up of a 12th century castle and its surrounding gardens. The castle is no longer open to the public (it used to be a museum of antiques) but guided visits of the garden can be arranged from April till September. According to the website, this is only possible for groups of more than ten people but we were with much less and they didn’t seem to mind. We paid 7 euro per person for the visit.
A très sympa gardener guided us around with a broad but less diabolic smile than Alice’s guide around Wonderland (Cheshire Cat). He was elaborate in his explanations (in French) and showed us the “Apothecary’s Garden” that has medicinal plants from the Middle Ages in boxwood hedges as well as a sun dial. In the 17th century, the castle’s terrace gardens were designed by no other than André Le Nôtre, chief gardener for King Louis XIV at the Palace of Versailles, a master at geometry and creating dramatic vistas. My favourite part of the garden was the “Jardin à l’Italienne” with boxwood clipped into balls, which lent itself perfectly for a few Alice poses.
I wore a dress by Free People that completed the Alice picture perfectly. I love how Free People with its unique designs succeeds, over and over again, in evoking an atmosphere, a sentiment. The dress I was wearing is currently sold out, but here, here, here, here and here are a few other favourites from the brand.
After about an hour, we woke up from our curious dream, thanked the gardener cordially and let him go back to his day job – I assume painting white roses red and such.
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