At the end of the 19th century, French actress Madame Thébault named Villa Roxelane after one of her famous character — the legendary wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Madame Thébault was a friend of Claude Monet, who spent many hours working on his canvases in Etretat.
In 1905, inspired by the artist, Madame Thébault decided to create a garden at the top of the Amont cliff that would reflect Monet's work with avant-garde elements mixed with a touch of impressionism. The famous and emblematic view opening from the garden on La Manche and the cliffs inspired such famous painters as Claude Monet, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Eugène Delacroix, Edouard Manet and Vasily Polenov.
In 2017, Alexandre Grivko, famous landscape architect fascinated by this history, gave Les Jardins d'Étretat their nobility. Plant sculptures evoke the nature of the Normandy coast, while more than a hundred thousand plants provide the gardens their beauty throughout the year. The goal was to bring together historical and artistic elements of the old garden and contemporary architectural ideas. A unique collection of modern art is displayed in Les Jardins d'Étretat, allowing visitors to contemplate nature and the surrounding world through the prism of art.
Alexandre Grivko managed to create a garden that appears at least half a century old within just two years. To achieve this goal, the architect drew from the methodology of André Le Nôtre, the historically acclaimed French landscape and gardening artist, and the master-creator of gardens and parks at Versailles. As he set to complete his work at Versailles in record time, Le Nôtre limited himself only a few plant species, thus, achieving a striking visual effect through expressively trimmed plant compositions.
The space of Les Jardins d'Étretat is arranged with the help of impressively-scaled plant compositions, the shapes of which are evocative of the landscapes and the natural features of Normandy. There you will observe plants with different shapes: "waves of the La Manche", "spirals and marine whirlpools", "oyster farms", "cliffs and arches of the Alabaster Coast", etc. It is an opportunity to highlight the biodiversity and natural beauty of the ecosystem, as well as to demonstrate new sculptural forms and new architectural processes in landscape art.
Les Jardins d'Étretat is an open-air museum of contemporary art that offers a collection of art pieces. Impressive interplay of trimmed plants and contemporary sculptures gives each part of the garden a unique atmosphere and character. The permanent collection of contemporary sculpture is at the architectural core of the garden, the artistic integrity, drama and general ambiance of which would be lost without these sculptural highlights.
The temporary Double Jeu exhibition coincide with the annual summer season launch at Les Jardins d'Étretat. The primary goal of these exhibitions is to develop a social, natural and artistic milieu aimed to stimulate creativity, improve ethical values, preserve the environment and protect historical and cultural heritage.