Charance Terrace Garden

The château of Charance has settled on a balcony over the Gap valley. Its territory forms the watershed between the beech grove and the meadow. The retaining walls reveal the slope and form the structure of the garden. Water is present and directly linked to the topography, strengthening the identity of the place. Gap town council wanted to restore a garden in terraces to this site, allowing it to show off a part of the rose collections of the Alpine Botanical Conservatory.

The exceptional geography and the memory of places expressed by the structures linked to the terraces and the use of water in the landscape led us to define two guiding lines:
– To express the transition between the beech grove and the meadow by using the vegetation traditionally linked to beeches (holly, box, daphnes) on the successive terraces from the tree-planted strata to the herbaceous one, and to strengthen the vocabulary linked to the water and the topography.
– To present the collection of roses by offering different flower shapes organized by terrace.

The project is thus built on three main axes:
– The first one is architectural, and found in the axis of the château and intersects the railings and the staircases. The walls perpendicular to the slope also have a bearing on this order. They maintain the idea of enclosure.
– The axes of the water, real or virtual, express the possible uses and the link with the topography. In the centre, the springs are retained along with their rockeries. Along the edges, the row of the old mills is expressed by clipped clumps of beech.
– The axis of the terraces perpendicular to the axis of the château, reveals the slope. This skeleton is emphasized by a course of parallel lines. The walls are counter-planted with trained plants.

Bringing together the spontaneous vegetation arranged on terraces and botanical roses, this garden offers a contemporary reading of the idea of a collection reconstructed in the identity of a territory.

Project: Charance Terrace Garden
Landscape – Architect: Atelier des Paysages Bruel-Delmar (
Location: Gap (05), Hautes-Alpes, France.
Commissioned by: Town of Gap
Area: 9 000 m²
Cost: 610 000 €
Design & Implementation period: 1998/2000
Status: Listed as an Historic Monument – Awarded the “Outstanding Gardens” label from the Ministry for Culture in 2005
Photos & texte: Atelier de Paysages Bruel-Delmar
(Translated by by Green Vision 2009)

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