Interview with Dominique Le Sidaner, president of the association Les Jardins Henri Le Sidaner

Interview with Dominique Le Sidaner, president of the association Les Jardins Henri Le Sidaner

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Gerberoy is an old fortified city located halfway between Beauvais, Rouen and Amiens, ordered "city" by Philippe Auguste in the 13th century. This village of a thousand inhabitants, classified among the most beautiful in France, shelters behind its ramparts the astonishing gardens of the French painter Henri Le Sidaner. Unjustly forgotten by the general public, the impressionist artist has spent a large part of his life designing and landscaping outdoor spaces in perfect harmony with the surrounding medieval streets. Maintained today by Dominique Le Sidaner, granddaughter of the painter, the Jardins Henri Le Sidaner continue to amaze visitors with their clever mixture of colors and intoxicating scents.

Tell us the amazing story of these gardens…

Dominique Le Sidaner: "It was on the advice of the sculptor Auguste Rodin and the ceramist Auguste Delaherche that my grandfather discovered Gerberoy, where he bought a house in 1904 that he restored little by little. The place corresponded in all respects to his expectations, since he was looking for an atypical but peaceful garden to paint his paintings in. Over the years, he made various acquisitions to enlarge house and garden, then set about building a workshop in an old Each element of the garden - pavilion, arches and weather vanes - was designed by my ancestor, who had a very precise idea of ​​what he wanted.

How are they articulated today?

To visit the gardens, you must first pass by the painter's house, which we occupy today with my husband. The latter is therefore not open to the public, however the workshop adjoining the building is open to the public: one can discover a few pieces of furniture, copies of his paintings, as well as his latest sketch, made a few days before his death. After passing through the ramparts, the visitor enters what we call the white gardens. Henri le Sidaner was particularly fond of monochrome outdoor spaces, so each garden has a color name! The visit ends with the rose garden dominated by red and pink, then by the yellow and blue garden. The latter houses a pretty belvedere, which is a perfect replica of that of the Petit Trianon in Versailles.

How do you manage to maintain such a space, so steeped in history?

We make sure to respect as much as possible the plans and the plant choices of Henri Le Sidaner. He liked certain varieties of roses, but also wisteria, clematis or even the silver baskets. We sometimes buy our plants abroad when ours collapse so that the gardens retain their original appearance with specific flowers. However the most complicated undoubtedly remains the mowing of the grass, because the numerous Italian terraces and the steep plots of land make certain parts of the garden inaccessible!
Henri Le Sidaner's Gardens are open to the public from April to October, every day except Tuesday Gerberoy Tourism Information Point 3, rue Henri le Sidaner / 60380 GERBEROY

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