Once upon a time, the Parc Oriental of Maulevrier

Parc en 1900
histoire, photo bergere, embarcadere
Peinture du Château Colbert

From birth...


Edouard François Colbert received the Château de Maulévrier and the adjoining park from his wife’s dowry in 1680. Destroyed during the Vendée wars, the castle was rebuilt between 1815 and 1830. A first romantic park was created on this occasion. In 1895, the Colbert estate was bought by Eugène Bergère, a rich textile industrialist from Cholet. The Bergère couple then met Alexandre Marcel, a famous Parisian architect, who became their son-in-law. Winner of international competitions and prizes, he was fascinated by Far Eastern architecture and became involved in the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris, for which he designed three pavilions. When he married Madeleine Bergère, he became the architect of the estate and, with Alphonse Duveau, the head gardener of the château, they created a “Japanese landscape” whose promenade would follow the banks of the river Moine. A pond was dug, the river widened, numerous trees planted and certain oriental elements of the World Fair were reproduced.

...to rebirth


However, in 1945, when the property was sold, the garden was forgotten. For about 40 years, it was abandoned. Only the attachment and passion of the inhabitants of Maulévrier gave it a second wind. In 1980, the commune bought the park and classified it as a French natural site under the impetus of Jean-Louis Belouard, mayor of Maulévrier at the time. The people of Maulévrier got involved and the first volunteers began to clear the garden. An association was created at the end of 1982 to ensure its preservation and management. The renovation of the park intensified.

Thanks to everyone’s commitment, the Park of Maulévrier opened its doors to the public on June 15th, 1985 and was soon recognised as an EDO period (16th-19th centuries) walking and transformation garden, by three Japanese professors from Tokyo and Niigata’s horticultural universities. From then on, major restoration work was launched with the aim of developing this heritage while respecting its original aesthetic and Japanese-style pruning. In 2004, the garden was awarded the title of “remarkable garden” by the Ministry of Culture and in 2022, the European Association of Japanese Gardens was created.

The Parc Oriental of Maulévrier will celebrate its 40th anniversary of being open to the public in spring 2025.

Restauration Embarcadère Parc Oriental
Restauration du jardin de la pagode, Parc Oriental de Maulévrier
Azalées au Parc oriental
Alexandre Marcel Parc oriental

Alexandre Marcel


A Parisian architect, Alexandre Marcel was the winner of numerous competitions and international prizes. At the end of the 19th century, he became fascinated with orientalism, and in particular with Japonism, as was the fashion of the time. In 1899, in Paris, rue de Babylone, he designed a party hall with Japanese decorations for the director of the “Bon Marché” in Paris, which has now become the “Pagoda” cinema.

For the Universal Exhibition of 1900, Alexandre Marcel created the pavilions of Cambodia, Spain and the Compagny Messageries Maritimes, called World tour Panorama, which earned him a good reputation. Some of its elements and follies were integrated into the Maulévrier Park, and others were bought by the Belgian King Leopold II for his property in Laeken, north of Brussels. Alexandre Marcel’s international career included the creation of the Royal Racecourse in Ostend, the construction of a palace for the Belgian industrialist Empain in Heliopolis near Cairo, a French-style palace for the Maharajah of Kapurthala in Punjab, and the construction of the house of the French ambassador to Japan in 1913.