The gardens of Marqueyssac sit atop a hill in the town of Vezac and overlook the Dordogne river. We decided to spend the day there to wander around the topiary and have a bit of lunch.
The last time I had visited the gardens was eight years ago when I was fourteen. It was around Easter time (or Pâques as the French call it) and Marqueyssac was hosting an Easter Egg Hunt for the children visitors. My younger brother and I , despite beings more than slightly above the target age demographic, were nonetheless enchanted but the labyrinth of greenery that stretched out before us. We shamelessly crawled under bushes and shrubbery, lost our way in mazes of greenery, and searched with gusto to find the elusive eggs.
Today’s trip was not quite as eventful, but no less enchanting. We decided not to buy tickets to visit the château and opted simply to tour around the topiary and enjoy the view. Before venturing off, we stopped at the resident salon de thé for a meal (all meals in Périgord will almost invariably contain some sort of duck bi-product, so vegetarians beware) and some rosé.
The walk through the perfectly and meticulously manicured hedges are both delightful and impressive. The carefully designed topiary then transforms into a wilder sort of atmosphere the deeper one walks along the path. The tall pine trees stretch their fingertips towards the sky, creating a magical sort of illusion as though one has fallen into a story book.
Every so often, there are stops along the way to either sit on a bench or inside a hut and take in one’s surroundings, admire a piece of artwork placed there for the public to enjoy, or read the information boards placed along the path which offer insight to the different plants and birds one might find in the gardens.
The best part is when you come across an opening in the trees and bushes, or a platform jutting off the side of the hill allowing for visitors to take in the view of the Dordogne river and the villages that sit nestled at (or carved into) the base of a rocky mountain.
We wrapped up our visit with a scoop or two of ice-cream (flavours include the traditional chocolate or vanilla as well as more unusual flavours such as lavender, rose, and acacia) and enjoyed the view for the last time making sure to take plenty of photos of the magnificent landscape stretched out before us and the resident peacock who strutted about, showing off his plumage.
The Jardins de Marqueyssac is a must-see for anyone visiting the area, whether it be a family day with the children, a romantic meander with a loved-one, or simply to go alone and appreciate the beauty of Périgord.