When you visit Rennes do not miss a walk around The Thabor Gardens!
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)!
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 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 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 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.
Another cool avenue led out of the gardens to the Abbey of Saint Melaine (next post!)