18 February 2018

Les Jardins d'Étretat, Étretat (76), Seine-Maritime (76)

Les Jardins d'Étretat, as an attraction, are less than eighteen months old. But their history goes back to 1905, when a local landscape gardener Auguste Lecanu, with the actor Madame Thébault (of whose existence I can find nothing online), planted the first tree here on the Falaise d'Amont, within sight of the Falaise d'Aval, its Aiguille made famous by writer Maurice Leblanc's creation, the 'gentleman burglar' Arsène Lupin. Thébault's most famous role, the story goes, was as Roxelane in Soliman le magnifique, and she bought an area of land here and had a villa called Roxelane constructed. Lecanu designed the garden influenced by the Impressionists, particularly Claude Monet, noted for his painting Coucher de soleil à Étretat.

Much later, it was the Russians Alexandre Grivko and his friend Mark Dumas who began transforming the premises into a kind of sculpture garden. This includes Coquillage de mer by Alena Kogan; Le jardin des Etreintes et des arbres by Viktor Szostalo and Agnieszka Gradnik; Le Jardin Emotions (with its remarkable ball faces) by Samuel Salcedo; and Viktor Szostalo also created the sculpture of Monet with his easel and artwork, with the real Falaise d'Aval in the background. These are just a few photos:

Finally, a representation of Monet painting Coucher de soleil à Étretat.

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