The Calouste Gulbenkian Park


The Calouste Gulbenkian Park

The top section (around 20 hectares) has a magnificent avenue starting from the main entrance with box hedges, colourful flowerbeds and trimmed yew trees… which then emerges onto a vast hilly glade. On the upper level, the park is crowned by a collection of coniferous trees. At the beginning of the avenue, the grand setting of open ground leads onto some steps and into a horseshoe-shaped clearing on the site of the old château. A little further on, the small setting of open ground edged by a wall decorated with balustrades was built with stones from the château when it was demolished. Below are three terraces : on one, a rose garden (with geometric borders, a basin and fountain), another has an orchard (apple and pear trees edged with pruned box hedges) overlooked by a small garden fixture, and the final one has a kitchen garden with only the remains of it outlined by hedges.
The lower section (around 10 hectares) has a mansion and its outhouses, set in the middle of grassland. The garden itself therefore is a combination of different moods, fulfilling its designer’s need for meditative calm and blending the traditional style of French gardens where borders and water features are laid out in a geometric pattern, the more natural layout of English gardens and the Italian style with its pointed trimmed yew trees and its balustrades. Its terracing, steps and balustrades, which proliferate around the park, also give it the feel of an open-air theatre.

The Domaine des Enclos is an outstanding park covering 34 hectares which was acquired in 1937 by Calouste Gulbenkian (1869-1955), a businessman and aesthete who was one of the greatest collectors in the 20th
century. An Armenian born in Turkey, of British nationality and living in France, he made his fortune by obtaining 5 % of sales of all oil extracted from the Arabian Peninsula. Deauville owns and has shared for 35 years one of the works he devoted himself to the most : a garden “in his own style”. Calouste Gulbenkian acquired the Domaine des Enclos, in the town of Bénerville adjoining Deauville. It was in these grounds that he was to create the garden of his dreams. Calouste Gulbenkian died in 1955 at the age of 86. The Parc des Enclos was then run by the Gulbenkian Foundation, which, in July 1973, donated it to the Town of Deauville. A self-taught man, Achille Duchêne (1866 – 1947) started working in his father’s architect firm at a very early age. He therefore inherited a prestigious clientele amongst the great estate owners. His entire work was dedicated to the renewal of the art of garden architecture and the return to the great tradition of the French garden. Achille Duchêne spread his army of gardeners and contractors throughout the world. His fundamental idea was to bring architectural design back to gardens by arranging them in line with the style of the residence.

How to get there

On the heights of Bénerville, towards Mont Canisy. At the roundabout after the church, follow the path to the Enclos. The park is situated 500m on the left.

Open : July and August from 2pm to 6pm.

Prices : €3, free for the under-18s.