Europe

Stunningly beautiful private gardens of Paris

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," 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.

  • 1. Charming greenhouse on Rue Bonapart

    Charming greenhouse on Rue Bonapart

    Marion Brenner

    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.

  • 2. Steel staircase and a rooftop paradise

    Steel staircase and a rooftop paradise

    Marion Brenner

    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.

  • 3. A Japanese sanctuary in Paris

    A Japanese sanctuary in Paris

    Marion Brenner

    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.

  • 4. Architectural hedges

    Architectural hedges

    Marion Brenner

    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.

    See more of Paris' most stunning best kept gardens.

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