When I took the Train à Vapeur des Cevennes between Anduze and Saint-Jean-du-Gard, I made a stop at an oasis. It is one of the most beautiful gardens in France, La Bambouseraie en Cévennes. [Bambouseraie means bamboo grove in English]. When I heard that it was a bamboo park, I didn’t have high expectations. I mean, bamboo? I was sorely mistaken. La Bambouseraie, is like nothing I’ve ever seen and it’s a very calm place to visit and will surely put you in a state of “zen”.
What makes this garden unique is that it is a botanical garden specializing in bamboo with over 1000 bamboo plants in addition to other tropical trees, plants, and flowers and is part of a larger park that is 34 hectares in size. The garden covers about 15 hectares.
La Bambouseraie en Cévennes-Bamboo Gardens In The Cevennes
When you visit this massive estate, it’s like you’ve been swept away to another place and time. It is definitely worth a stop because the surroundings are lovely, interesting and if anything, will keep you cool in the hot weather as there are lots of shaded areas.
History Of La Bambouseraie en Cévennes
La Bambouseraie is also known as the bamboo garden of Anduze, La Bambouseraie d’Anduze, Prafrance Bamboo Forest, and La Bambouseraie de Prafrance. [Anduze is only 2 km away and “Prafrance” comes from Pro fran and pré franc, a provincial dialect meaning ‘exempt from taxes”].
It was created by Eugène Mazel who was from the Cévennes area. He had a keen interest in botany and horticulture and had inherited a sizeable fortune from his uncle who was his guardian when he was orphaned. Mazel used this money to develop a bamboo plantation with exotic plants in the Générargues area of the Gard department in 1856.
Unfortunately, he went bankrupt and died in 1890. In 1902, Gaston Nègre purchased La Bambouseraie en Cevennes. Throughout the next century, the management of the park was a family affair. It wasn’t until 1945 that his son, Maurice Nègre, opened it as a park for the paying public. After he died, his wife and daughter took over running the park.
Favourite Areas At La Bambouseraie
As mentioned, the garden covers 15 hectares and there’s lots of walking. The information about the plant/flower species and bamboo was often in English and French. My favourite areas, due to their beauty or originality were:
During your exploration, you’ll no doubt wander down the Chinese Palm Walk (Allée des Palmiers de Chine) and Giant Sequoia Walk (Allée des Séquoias). both have enormous trees providing lots of shade.
2. Eugene’s Pond Garden (Le Jardin des Bassins d’Eugène)
Lily pads in lovely ponds are adjacent to Mazel’s greenhouses that were constructed in 1860.
3. Red Torii At The Entrance To The Japanese Garden
Upon entering the Japanese Garden you pass under the colourful red torii. It definitely stands out amongst all the greenery and is the perfect symbol of peace and harmony.
4. Red Phoenix Pavilion And Valley Of The Dragon (Pavillon du Phoenix Rouge et Vallon du Dragon)
This was my favourite area as it is so well landscaped. It was created in 2000, the year of the dragon and covers an extensive area of land. Be sure to visit the red Phoenix Pavillon.
5. Zen Area (Espace Zen)
This quiet, calm area provides chairs for you to really get into the zen and relax.
6. Laotian Village (Village Laotien)
There was much more to the Laotian village than I expected. They had constructed numerous bamboo huts and buildings and even had a pen with pigs.
7. Art Installations
There are a number of art installations in La Bambouseraie and one that stood out was “The Glass Bead Game” (Le Jeu des Perles de Verre) by visual artists Margrit Neuendorf and Olivier Huet (“les Fujak”). The name refers to the Herman Hesse novel for which he won the 1946 Nobel Prize in literature.In the Valley of the Dragon area of the gardens are bamboo stalks with16,000 glass beads and stainless steel wire. They are combined so that “the beauty of the bamboo is magnified by “jewels”, bracelets of beads”. The light beads catch the sun’s rays and “reflect them in a subdued glimmering”.
8. Labyrinth (Labyrinthe)
Not just for kids! Have fun finding your way out of the fun labyrinth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Give yourself about 2 hours.
Yes, you can buy plants and flowers at La Bambouseraie. They have a garden centre.
La Bambouseraie en Cévennes
- Open: late February to mid-November (open until 7 pm May-August)
- Address: 552 Montsauve, 30140 Générargues
- Entrance fee: 13.90€ (adult)
Have you ever visited a bamboo garden like La Bambouseraie en Cévennes?
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