In Amiens, in Northern France, there are extraordinary gardens housing monumental artistic creation. The International Garden Festival—Hortillonnages Amiens represents a new look at the art of gardening, through 140 works created over the past 10 years by landscape designers, architects, and visual artists. Check out the festival for yourself from June 7 to October 20, on foot or by boat.
Three hundred hectares (740 acres) of ponds, punctuated by hundreds of floating gardens, bathe the city of Amiens in leaves and petals. Shaded by willows and alders, channels—called rieux—connect these islets once dedicated to market gardening.
For ten years, selected by the Maison de la Culture and now by the association Art & Jardins Hauts de France, landscapers and visual artists have invested some fifty plots with their work. From June to October, their art adorn the banks, clearings and undergrowth of this aquatic labyrinth.
Gardens between Île aux Fagots and Clermont pond
These creations can be found in two locations: Île aux Fagots, a 10-minute walk from the train station by the tow road along the Somme, and Clermont Pond. It is accessible from the port of Camon by electric boats available for rent. Sail and dock wherever you like, taking a picnic along the banks of this picturesque part of Northern France.
A special theme about the 2019 edition: the gardens and the works work together to encourage interaction. For example, visitors can lounge on the chairs of the Jardin d'Érode (Mathieu Gonthier), or use the «Jardin du pot commun» (The Gardener of Cities) which humorously illustrates the fertilizing power of toilets. With «Île était une fois» (Green Resistance) visitors can also embark on a funny wooden boat, grounded in a clearing.
The stopovers are rich in impromptu encounters, woven willow sculptures or restored huts. Ten minutes from the train station, l'Île aux Fagots invites visitors to discover a whole new world.
Installed for the garden festival
Present on the pond of Clermont as on the Île aux Fagots, the visual artist Raphaëlle Duquesnoy has created giant ceramic amplifiers ("Hortillophones") to amplify the sound of these extraordinary gardens of the North of France. When you put your ear against them, you can hear the wind in the birches, the lap of the water and the chuckle of the water hens in Amiens in the Hauts-de-France: the sweet song of the canal garens, the hortillons!