Garden “Intérieur à Ciel Ouvert”
Very late in the season, we took advantage of a rare Sunday off to visit this new garden “Intérieur à Ciel Ouvert“, a little over an hour away at Athis de l’Orne, which we heard of only this summer while flicking through the brochure “Gardens of Normandy 2012”.
When we arrived we were warmly greeted by owners Benoît and Dominique Delomez, who told us that they have created this garden from scratch since 2000 and they only opened it to the public last year. What a fantastic, mature and contemporary garden these talented artists (sculptors) and gardeners have created in such a short time!
“Intérieur à Ciel Ouvert” (literally, “Indoors under the Open Sky”) covers 3000m² and is absolutely packed with features, tricks and twists, more than we would have thought possible in the space – it feels at least twice as big as it really is. Water is never very far away, with the natural springs on the site used to good effect in a variety of features, ponds and rills.
We visited in late September, near the end of the season, but everything still looked fresh and well looked after – more than worth the journey, especially as it could be combined with a visit to Chateau de Carrouges or Chateau de Sassy, both of which are directly on the route. Even the drive to our destination was a delight, taking the D2 from Alençon to Carrouges, then the D909 as far as Fromentel then the D924/D20 to Athis de l’Orne. This is not the fastest route, but it takes in some truly beautiful Normandy countryside and forests. It took us a little over an hour.
This garden is also featured on our main website page for Gardens to Visit in Normandy and Pays de la Loire
Entry 2012 was a mere 5€ for adults, free for under 16s.
Open May to September 14h to 19h.
May, June and September Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays only; July and August every day except Monday.
Parking is next to the bus stop near the college in the town centre. Follow Rue du capitaine Martin and turn left on Chemin du Lavoir to the garden (total 200m).