Blog News February 4, 2015


Paris has many famous, beautiful public gardens and even more exquisite private ones tucked behind the walls of its private houses and on the terraces and rooftops of its apartment buildings. A selection of these come beautifully to light in In & Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delights (Gibbs Smith, $50), a new book written by Zahid Sardar and photographed by Marion Brenner.

In smart, anecdote-filled prose, Sardar offers a primer on the evolution of landscape design in France’s capital city, juxtaposing descriptions of celebrated and lesser-known public and estate gardens in and around Paris with portraits of private retreats within the city. Brenner’s luminous photographs show how different styles of design—from a classic garden by Louis Benech and Pascal Cribier to a Japanese-inspired sanctuary by Iwaki to towering green walls by Patrick Blanc—can share a consistency and elegance that is, simply put, very French.

A rooftop garden
In the early 1990s, Pierre Bergé (Yves Saint Laurent’s longtime partner) enlisted Louis Benech and Pascal Cribier to design a garden in the charming east-facing triangular outdoor space tucked behind his home on rue Bonaparte in Paris. The striped awning protects a gravel dining terrace dining, which is lined with a collection of terra-cotta pots filled with bulbs and perennials.
Pierre Bergé's Garden
For a top-floor apartment in the 16th arrondissement, landscape gardener Camille Muller clad an existing steel staircase leading from a terrace to the rooftop garden in patinaed zinc panels, complementing multihued plantings that rise up the side of the building.
Kenzo Takada's Garden
Twenty-five years ago fashion designer Kenzo Takada hired landscape architect Iwaki to create a Japanese-style garden for his home near Place de la Bastille. Lush plantings, including tall bamboo placed around the perimeter, provide shade and privacy. Here, a cantilevered deck accessed through a formal Japanese tearoom offers a quiet spot to view the koi pond.
Château de Courances gardens
The moated gardens of Château de Courances, a 17th-century estate near the Fontainebleau forest south of Paris, offer examples of hundreds of years of French garden styles. Here, an exquisitely trained hedge acts as a gateway to the Anglo-Japanese garden designed by Berthe de Ganay and Kitty Lloyd Jones in the 1920s.
Rooftop Garden
For a rooftop apartment and terrace, architect Michael Herrman created layers of vegetation and open views in the vein of a Champs Elysée terrace designed by Le Corbusier. A robust wall of greenery was inspired by botanist Patrick Blanc’s famed mur végétal; floor-to-ceiling glass windows and an outdoor fireplace surrounded in marble help blur the lines between inside and out.
Hugues Peuvergne-designed Garden
A bathtub enclosed in glass is the focal point of a 300-square-foot garden designed by Hugues Peuvergne on the roof of six-story building near Place de Mexico. Red lava rocks were arranged to resemble a dry riverbed, and sparse plantings, including a slow-growing cypress tree, were placed to evoke an arid climate.
Full article here.