Considered as the grandest Japanese garden in Europea, the Parc oriental de Maulévrier located close to Cholet is one of the pilot projects in Europe in terms of the quality of its restoration and presentation. At the meeting point of the French Maine et Loire, Deux-Sèvres and Vendée departments, the 72-acre natural environment is an enchanting site where plants communicate with minerals in a verdant and flower-filled setting.
Far more than simply a place to relax, the oriental park proposes an exotic day-long journey strolling down the alleys of a 30-acre Japanese garden (a classified site), admiring a superb bonsai collection and enjoying a warm drink in a charming tea salon. As a space propitious to meditation and poetry, Maulévrier bears similarities to the grand Japanese parks for promenading of the 17th to 19th-century Edo epoch. In this culture, the composition and symbolism of Japanese gardens represents a form of sacred art, an expression of the tenets defining several Eastern religions. The promenade follows the meanderings of a river highlighted by bridges, Khmer statues, Japanese lanterns, and a pagoda; some of these objects have been reproduced from molds of the celebrated 1900 Paris World’s Fair. The plant cycle and the staging of calm or flowing water explain characterization of the park as “garden of transformation”.
Ever evolving, the gardens are also anchored in history. During the 19th century, the park was incorporated into the Colbert château, which had been acquired by a manufacturer from nearby Cholet.
His architect, and soon-to-be son-in-law, the internationally renowned Alexandre Marcel, strove to reendow the estate with its one-time splendor by creating an Oriental area of essentially Japanese design.
Having fallen in love with the site, he planted numerous exotic species, created a pond, and added a number of sublime architectural features. After his death in 1948 and the departure of his wife in 1945, a series of owners failed to adequately maintain this oasis of greenery; it was only in 1980 that the public authorities acquired the park and that restoration work faithful to the spirit of its designer got underway in earnest.
Welcoming more than 110,000 visitors a year, the Parc oriental de Maulévrier contains no less than 300 species of exotic vegetation, raising it to the rank of third arboretum of the Pays de Loire. For walkers, it represents an eye-opening place for discovery focused on the theme of nature, plants and plant upkeep.
Year in and year out, from one flowering season to the next, special events are organized in a blessedly free space where serenity prevails at any moment of the day.
- Free individual visits
- Guided individual tours
- Groups welcome from 20 people up to 50 people
- Guided group tours
- Pets are accepted
- Parlées : French, German, English
- Credit card
- Cheques and postal orders
- Holiday vouchers