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2024 – France | Quebec shines in the gardens of the Loire

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(Chaumont-sur-Loire) On April 24, the International Garden Festival of the Chaumont-sur-Loire estate opened in France. The guests of honour for this 2024 edition are the Jardins de Métis, which were unveiled folkloreTheir vision of a garden that is embedded in Quebec traditions and looks to the future.




The birds and frogs cry out despite the rain, which in milder bursts turns to drizzle. In this melodic grey, about thirty new gardens, designed by artisans from all over the world, light up the place. They are so many changing works in an open-air museum.

PHOTO PHILIPPE DEVANNE, GETTY IMAGES

Chaumont-sur-Loire is located in the Loire Valley, France.

The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire is one of those exceptional sites that are in a class of their own even in the Loire Valley, where there are many World Heritage sites. A cultural, artistic and historical meeting place, the site is renewed every year by its international horticultural festival, which takes place from April to November.

Since 1992, over 900 horticultural works have been presented there, most of which were selected through competitions. Les Jardins de Métis are among the few guests of honour to have received a “green card”.

Expectations are high. Chaumont is an opportunity to showcase Quebec's know-how and make a name for itself internationally.

Alexander Reford, Director of the Jardins de Métis

Among the thirty new gardens presented in this program with the theme “Garden Source of Life”, folklore stands out with a more conceptual creation that offers a reflection on the garden as a cultural building. Designed by the Jardins de Métis team with landscape architects Luu Nguyen and Émilie Tanguay-Pelchat, the installation addresses tradition in a contemporary and interactive style.

Embroider a garden of the future

PHOTO ERIC SANDER, PROVIDED BY DOMAINE DE CHAUMONT-SUR-LOIRE

From left to right: Alexander Reford, Luu Nguyen, Ève De Garie-Lamanque and Émilie Tanguay-Pelchat

folklore presents itself: graphic, fascinating, lively. Four kilometres of thread, woven into large frames, form a colourful weft reminiscent of arrows, a finger-weaving technique that is part of Quebec's intangible cultural heritage.

The Métis team has been testing this project for almost a year. “We wanted a vision that takes the past into account,” says Ève De Garie-Lamanque, artistic director of the Festival international des Jardins de Métis. “In today's digital and consumer age, we are very future-oriented. We have stopped passing on certain know-how. We have a need to know who we are and where we come from.”

  • Perspective on folklore

    PHOTO ERIC SANDER, PROVIDED BY DOMAINE DE CHAUMONT-SUR-LOIRE

    Position on folklore

  • Perspective on folklore

    PHOTO ERIC SANDER, PROVIDED BY DOMAINE DE CHAUMONT-SUR-LOIRE

    Position on folklore

  • Perspective on folklore

    PHOTO ERIC SANDER, PROVIDED BY DOMAINE DE CHAUMONT-SUR-LOIRE

    Position on folklore

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The inspiration came from the arrow belt of Elsie Reford, the creator of the Jardins de Métis.

“While we were looking for ideas, [Reford] told us about Elsie's silk belt, says Luu Nguyen. I was hesitant at first. We all have in our minds the Bonhomme Carnaval and the other clichés associated with the arrow sash. But when we did some research, we realized how rich this tradition is. In fact, we know very little about it. »

The decisive factor was the meeting with the pillar artist Yvette Michelin, who is one of the few who still masters this traditional know-how that she has been teaching for over 60 years. She is also the author of a book on arrow drawing in which she describes the technique in the language of landscape architects: “She talks about the way there, the way back, diagonals and intersections. It's a kind of conversation while walking. This is where we came together,” note the landscape architects who transferred this choreography to the garden.

Everyone has their own imaginary belt

PHOTO ERIC SANDER, PROVIDED BY DOMAINE DE CHAUMONT-SUR-LOIRE

folklore transfers the language of arrows to the garden with an installation made of recycled materials that embodies an ecologically, economically and culturally responsible vision of the future.

From the front, the panels transparently display a plant palette reminiscent of the boreal forest, its undergrowth and its glade plants. Viewed from the side, their frame becomes denser. Depending on the viewer's movement, the structures overlap, forming a multitude of arrow-shaped bands whose colors recall the white of the snow, the blue of the sky, the red of the autumn leaves, the green of the forest and the yellow flowers of the meadows.

We didn't want to transfer the arrow belt literally into the garden. The challenge was to make it dynamic and create a lively and kinetic effect.

Émilie Tanguay-Pelchat, landscape architect

The result is a play of colors that changes according to movement and moments of the season. Through the eyes of the visitor, the belt is constantly reinvented. Everyone leaves the place with their own thoughts. Despite its static structure, the place comes alive during visits. The audience experiments with the concept and engages with its playful side by playing with shadows, threads and overlay effects.

“We got a lot from Chaumont, which also inspired us in creating our own festival in Métis,” notes Alexander Reford, director of the Jardins de Métis. As a sign of reciprocity, the team is now also inviting the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, which will have its own garden in Grand-Métis this summer from June 24 to 25.t International Métis Gardens Festival.

This trip was organized in partnership with Atout France. Part of the cost of this trip was covered by the Val de Loire Regional Tourism Committee and by Air Canada, which had no right to verify the content of this report.

Visit the website of Domaine Chaumont-sur-Loire

Visit the Jardins de Métis website

A short story

Brought to Quebec by the Ursulines in the 17th centuryt Since the 18th century, the arrow has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. It requires few tools, but a lot of skill and time. The weavers carry out their work with one hand, the right one, so that the other is free for other tasks. “This just shows that we have not been multitasking for a long time!”, emphasizes Luu Nguyen with a laugh.

Worn by French Canadians and the Métis nation, the arrow belt had multiple uses, including keeping warm, dressing wounds, or carrying loads. First popular with rangers, it then became generally used in Lower Canada, but fell out of fashion at the turn of the 20th century.t century before experiencing a brief revival in the 1960s. However, it remains alive thanks to some craftsmen like Yvette Michelin, who made sure that the word Flecherande entered the Large terminological dictionary of the Quebec Office for the French Language.