Restoration of the garden and the Follies

The Temple of Vesta
The Temple of Vesta © Denis Pillet

The Loire-Atlantique Department has been implementing the restoration plan for the natural and architectural heritage of the Garenne Lemot estate since 2000.

The Loire-Atlantique Department developed a restoration plan for the garden and the follies of the Garenne Lemot Park back in 2000. The aim of this plan was to replicate the atmosphere of the park created between 1805 and 1827 by the sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot.

From 2014 to 2017, a second phase of the work was carried out.

Reconstruction of the gardens

Due to the advanced state of maturity of some of the vegetation, it was necessary to replant certain areas to restore the balance of the original composition of the park.

On the banks of the Sèvre, the contrast between the picturesque boulders and the follies had been lost. The restoration plan called for showcasing the follies and re-creating the views designed by Lemot.

On the plateau, the original woodland had lost its predominance. Some of the trees were cut down and new ones planted.

Restoration of the follies and ornamental structures

This phase concerned the Renaissance-type structures built by Lemot, including the Madrid Column, the milestone, the aedicula, the Grotto of Heloise, the Rocher de Rousseau, the pergola, the ice house and the Temple of Vesta.

The Temple of Vesta overlooks the Sèvre river and is the largest folly in the park. This round temple surrounded by columns is reminiscent of the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, thus illustrating the connection between the Clisson site and Antiquity. The temple underwent extensive restoration work: restoration of the roof, columns and their bases, cornices, the terrace and parapet, the window frames, and the railings of the staircase. A gate was also installed at the entrance to the staircase.

The restoration of the garden and the follies cost €410,000 and the work was carried out from September 2014 to December 2017.

Restoration of the Temple of Friendship

Opposite the Garenne estate, on the other side of the Sèvre, the Temple of Friendship was built under the direction of the sculptor Lemot between 1812 and 1819 to house the tomb of his friend, the collector François Cacault.

Owned by the Loire-Atlantique Department since 1993, this temple underwent a first restoration campaign on the peristyle in 1995 and 1996. The new campaign concerned the chapel (framework, roof). It was completed in January 2016 for a total cost of €274,000.

Did you know?

According to the Larousse dictionary, a folly is an ornamental building (temple, ruin or other), constructed mainly for decoration or to enhance the landscape, typically found in a park or the grounds of an estate or demesne.