An outstanding and unknown garden

© Sandrine Boyer Engel
© Caroline Rose
© Caroline Rose

The “Domaine des Enclos” is an exceptional 33-ha park, acquired in 1937 by Calouste Gulbenkian (1869-1955), business man and aesthete at the same time, one of the greatest art collectors of the XX century.
During his trip to Spain in 1928, Calouste Gulbenkian is fascinated by the visit of the Retiro gardens situated close to Malaga. At the end of this visit, he wrote in his personal diary: "Man of science and dreamer, they are two great objectives of my life I couldn’t achieve”. Anyway, nine years later, during one of his trips to Deauville, he acquired the Domaine des Enclos, situated in the municipality of Bénerville, bordering Deauville. It was at the time an hotel surrounded by a large park. He wanted to create here the garden he was dreaming about and entrusted his project to Achille Duchêne. Calouste Gulbenkian passed away in 1955, when he was 86. The Enclos park started to be managed by the Gulbenkian Foundation, which decided to donate it to the City of Deauville in July 1973.

 

 

© Caroline Rose

"My desire is creating great harmony, excluding all small size objects, too common in style gardens (…) preserving its romantic soul and emphasizing it, decorating it without exaggerating…" 

Calouste Gulbenkian Letter to Achille Duchêne, spring 1938

High section: on the upper plateau, it associates a collection of conifers to a vast meadow, both crowning the park.

Central section: it includes an extraordinary avenue, extending from the main entrance, bounded by shaped boxwood hedges and yews…It leads to a large hilly clearing extending on a gentle slope. At the entrance of the park, an avenue, the great scenario, an embankment with stairs at the end, leads to a horseshoe-shape clearing, replacing the old master house. A bit further, there’s the small scenario, an embankment bordered by a wall decorated by balustrades, was built with stones and handrails after the demolition of the old house of the master. Several balconies rise up the slope: a rose garden (with geometrical flower-beds and a basin), an orchard (apple trees and pear trees surrounded by shaped boxwood trees) dominated by a small building with a garden where a permanent exhibition tells the history of the park and its facilities, since 2010. The garden alone offers different atmospheres, in line with the needs for meditation and calm of its designer. It merges the classical style of French gardens with geometrically-disposed flower-beds, the more natural organization of English gardens and also the Italian style with conically sharpened yews and its balustrades. This park, organized in different levels and including stairs and balustrades, is perfectly suitable to host concerts or reading events.

Low section: this area, inaccessible to visitors, includes a farmhouse and its outbuildings, grasslands and many hutches and bird-cages.

The park is open in July and August and during specific events throughout the year.

 

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