The Thabor Gardens in Rennes

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When you visit Rennes do not miss a walk around The Thabor Gardens!

The Thabor Gardens, Rennes

The area of today’s Thabor Gardens originally belonged to the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Melaine and is situated on the highest hill in Rennes. The gardens were partially opened in the 17C, but only men were allowed in, and it was only after the French Revolution that there was full access. (The name refers to Mount Tabor in Israel, believed by Christians to be the site of the transfiguration of Christ.) The gardens were redesigned in 1866 to create today’s wonderful park of 10 hectares by Denis  Bühler (1811-90) and his brother Eugène (1822-1907), who worked together as landscape architects. An architect, Jean-Baptiste Martinot, added the greenhouses, bandstand, orangery, and aviary and today there is also an outdoor theatre, the Hell (L’Enfer)!

The entrance to the Gardens in the Rue de Paris
The entrance to the Gardens in the Rue de Paris

Just above these stairs are the waterfall and waterways, an area known as the ‘Catherinettes Garden’, and an early view of the area (below) is on an information board. (Why this name?)


The waterfall in the 'Catherinettes' Garden, Thabor Gardens, Rennes

The waterway in the 'Catherinettes' Garden, Thabor Gardens, Rennes

The section known as the Botanical Gardens consists of circular beds around a central pond, and grows over 3,000 species of plants – quite extraordinary!

The circular Botanical Gardens in the Thabor Gardens

The pond in the Botanical Gardens, Thabor Gardens

The area called the ‘pollinarium’ was planted with dahlias and was absolutely spectacular! (I am going to do a separate post on the gardening site.) Apparently gardens such as this are used to measure the pollen emissions of appropriate plants so that warnings can be given to people who are allergic about pollen levels.


The Orangery overlooks a formal French garden with a bandstand, and tucked away alongside is the Restaurant.



The Thabor Gardens

The Bandstand in the Thabor Gardens

The Thabor Gardens

The restaurant in the Thabor Gardens

The high level walkway was cool above the open air theatre, L’enfer, which used to be the monks’ boating pond, apparently. When we visited there was a young man practising his break dancing.

The high level walkway in the Thabor Gardens

The open air theatre in The Thabor Gardens

Another cool avenue led out of the gardens to the Abbey of Saint Melaine (next post!)


Further information
Garden Visits – useful website

A very informative blog about the gardens
The Bühler brothers

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