biodiversity trumps le notre


The simple signage of The Abbey of Fontfroide

Something is going on in the French gardening world.  The love of order has been overtaken by concern for the environment.  At the XII century Abbey of Fontfroide, the gardens have been transformed as either “teaching gardens” or “wild gardens.”  No matter what, the French, still have to have a rose garden.  The rose garden at Fontfroide was restored in 1990 and  includes more than 2500 roses of 14 different varieties, including the Rose de Cistercians and la Rose de Fonfroide, especially created for the Abbey.


This is the stairway up to the bosque.  The bosque is a woodland, with small terraced gardens containing medieval medicinal herbs as well as herbs, fruits and veg.




Garden for bees




I love this simple fence.


and not so simple leaf fence


The Central Courtyard or Louis 14th Courtyard.

No matter what, every historic structure has to have topiary pots.  In the Middle Ages, this courtyard sheltered many workshops for ironworkers, joiners and even a bakery.  The Courtyard contained several wells and underground cisterns from which flowed very cold water giving the origins of the name “Fontfroide” (fons frigida or “cold spring”).



The view from the top of the pathway, known as the Observatory .

The Abbey was bought by Gustave and Madeline Fayet d’Andoque in 1908.  It still remains in private hands today.


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