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Visit La Louve
La Louve, or the She-wolf, is a garden situated in the Luberon area of Provence. The garden is listed as one of France's "Remarkable gardens".
Visit the La Louve garden
Created by Nicole de Vesian, well-known in the world of fashion after a career with the House of Hermes. This garden though is considered to be one of her greatest works of art. The garden is now owned by Judith Pillsbury, an art dealer from Paris who maintains the gardens according to their original design.
It is a Mediterranean garden in its planting, ie lots of rosemary, lavender, sage, cistus box and junipers and lots of plants are clipped imposing a tight order on much of the planting. Flat topped cypresses became a hallmark of Vesian's garden style. At La Louve there is also a strong Japanese influence, partly seen in the cloud-pruning of some trees but more apparent in the use of pebbles, stones and rocks.
The garden is small and is a tapestry of greens and greys. There are not many flower colours to be seen other than the purples of the lavenders which are allowed to flower (many are clipped tight back excluding flowers). The effect is harmonious and peaceful and it blends beautifully into the surrounding, and also very beautiful, Luberon countryside.
Dotted around the garden are wooden benches designed by Nicole de Vesian and these offer lovely spots to sit and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.
photo of clipped box and cyprus trees at the Louve garden ©solange Brihat
Les Jardins de la Louve garden guide:
The La Louve garden is now owned by Judith Pillsbury who maintains the garden in the style of its designer. It is a private garden but visits can be arranged by rendez-vous for groups of ten or more. It is definitely worth the trouble. Visits cost 11 euros per person.
Address: La Louve, Chemin Saint Gervais, 84480 Bonnieux
Reservations can be made with the Bonnieux tourist office
Gardens to visit nearby
A visit to the Domaine du Rayol near to Saint Tropez allows you to visit gardens with plants from all the different Mediterranean climates throughout the world including South Africa and Australia. The Gardens of the Chateau Val Joanis has a formal French-style garden with box parterres filled with perennial plants such as irises and also a decorative vegetable garden.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.