On a fabulous Spring afternoon that felt more like summer, my friend who is a real nature lover, took me to a park at Maulévrier. This is not your usual French park but a singular creation; the largest Japanese park in Europe.
Created between 1899 and 1910 by the visionary Alexandre Marcel, it was restored to its full magnificence in the 1980s. With a chateau in the background, a Cambodian temple still used by the local Cambodian community and a little hunting lodge with its own water wheel, the garden offers wonderful and surprising perspectives and panoramas. While the garden is built on the principles of Buddhism and Shintoism which are reflected in the harmonious and tranquil feel of the place, native plants and trees are also incorporated.
After our explorations we became parched and stopped by the tea rooms. I had the laughing Buddha teaa, mixture of delicate aromas and subtle spices. Perhaps it was the tea which gave me a pleasant and tranquil feeling at the end of the afternoon but it was also Im sure the company of my lovely friend in magnificent surroundings.