Georges Rouzeau - 2012-11-08
Le Vasterival garden in Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer, Normandy, was created by an exiled Romanian princess. Home to some 10,000 plant species and varieties, the grounds are subtly landscaped with new perspectives around every corner. A profoundly original floral universe.
When they cross the threshold of Le Vasterival, visitors have the singular impression that they are discovering a unique universe. This garden is the masterpiece of an exceptional woman, the Romanian princess Margareta Sturdza, who created it in 1957 and cultivated it until she died in 2009, more than fifty years later.
Covering an area of nine hectares, the garden currently holds a very eclectic collection of some 10,000 plant species and varieties, from rhododendrons to Japanese maples to trees and shrubs with coloured bark. Thanks to its very hilly topography and the technique of ‘transparent pruning’ perfected by the princess, Le Vasterival offers visitors an infinite variety of perspectives and angles.
Today, Didier Willery, Princess Greta Sturdza’s right-hand horticulturist, tends Le Vasterival with two other gardeners. He receives visitors (who have booked ahead) for garden tours that are always unique.
346 Allée Albert-Roussel (access via the Route du Phare d’Ailly)
Tel: +33 (0)2 35 85 12 05
Guided tours (2-3 hours) year round; advance booking required – € 28/£ 22 (€ 33/£ 26 Sat-Sun)
Where to stay and dine
La Terrasse. Ideally located near the various gardens of Varengeville-sur-Mer as well as the coast and its limestone cliffs (a five-minute walk), this hotel-restaurant reminiscent of an old-fashioned boarding house is highly recommended. All of the rooms give onto either the greening fields or the blue of the sea.
Hôtel La Terrasse
Route de Vasterival
Tel: +33 (0)2 35 85 12 54
Le Piment bleu
Château de Varengeville
Route de Dieppe
Tel: +33 (0)2 35 83 38 95 or (0)6 77 76 20 63
In her atelier-salon de thé-shop, the proprietor, a fabric designer, concocts light lunches consisting of savoury tarts, quiches and salads – everything is fresh and home-made – as well as delectable desserts such as the classic amandine à l’orange.