Walking through the candlelit gardens at Château de Marqueyssac is without a doubt one of the most romantic and magical evenings you’ll ever have. It is such an incredible experience.
You can visit Château de Marqueyssac throughout the year and during the day, but I’d wholeheartedly recommend visiting at dusk during the summer for the Marqueyssac aux Chandelles event.
Everything You Need to Know About Jardin de Marqueyssac (including the Château)
What is Château de Marqueyssac?
It’s a 17th Century beautiful manor house, complete with gorgeous gardens, often called the hanging gardens or Les Jardins Suspendus de Marqueyssac. There are also topiary gardens within the grounds.
You can go inside the charming château, wandering at your own pace and seeing what it would have been like to live there.
Tip: Head up the spiral staircase which leads to the fancy dining room and out onto the terrace.
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What is Marqueyssac aux Chandelles?
It’s a summer event that takes place in the grounds of Les Jardins Suspendus de Marqueyssac. It happens every Thursday evening from dusk until midnight during July and August. And if I lived in France I’d happily visit every week.
You buy a ticket to enter the site and that allows you to wander through the candlelit grounds, tour the château and to enjoy the magical entertainment that’s dotted about. Simply follow the sound of soft music or the flicker of the candles that line the hedged pathways. It’s magical.
Tree canopies and hedged tunnels are laced with fairy lights, whilst taller trees are draped in tasteful multi-coloured lights. And sometimes they stay bare with just the tiny candles on the ground and the moon to light them in a soft glow.
Dotted throughout the gardens you’ll find musicians playing live jazz music – the kind that pulls you closer and makes you want to tap your foot or pick up an instrument.
Couples sit on the benches cuddling or sipping the Champagne they’ve brought with them. Families sit on blankets feasting on their gourmet picnics, their little ones dancing to the music. It’s hard to convey the magic of it, but believe me when I say it’s truly enchanting.
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Les Jardins Suspendus de Marqueyssac
The paths of Les Jardins Suspendus de Marqueyssac (also known as The Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac) are organised into three circuits 130 metres above the river.
Whichever pathway you choose you’ll be spoiled with sculpted trees, boxwood, twinkling lights and impressive views at every turn.
You’ll even find a discreet treehouse on one particular corner. I couldn’t decide if I felt like a fairy or like I’d entered The Secret Garden, either way my glistening eyes and beaming smile showed no sign of disappearing. Abandon the map and embrace your impulse choices. You won’t be disappointed.
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The Topiary Gardens
Opened to the public in 1997, it’s now the most visited garden in Aquitaine (one of the twenty-seven regions in France). Seemingly off the overseas tourist route, it’s filled with mostly French guests. This adds to the romance of the gardens as you only hear murmurs of lovely French accents.
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Tips for Marqueyssac aux Chandelles
I’d recommend arriving at 7pm so that you can watch the sunset before then enjoying the candlelight night.
If you want to see everything you can probably pause for ten minutes or so before carrying on through the next walkway.
The musicians are all unique, with some soloists, brassy bands and duos. Alongside the music, peacocks, bats and other nature you’ll find modern art sculptures and even cliff etchings. Before you know it the hours will have passed and the sky will be dark.
Consider joining the 25-minute walk straight to the far end of the estate which overlooks La Roque-Gageac, a cliff-side village that regularly wins France’s most prettiest village competition.
Views from Jardin de Marqueyssac
As with pretty much the whole of the Dordogne – Perigord area in south-west France, the views are ridiculously easy on the eye. Even pulling into the car park is an exciting glimpse of what’s to come.
As the sun slowly heads down the horizon is filled with the most stunning shades of orange and silver. They light up the valley in a calming glow.
A popular sport with hot air balloons, they linger in the sky soaking up the views which must be even more spectacular from that height.
Where is Château de Marqueyssac?
It’s just over an hour from Dordogne and Bergerac, 30-minutes from Salviac and 15-minutes from Sarlat.
The address is Les Jardins de Marqueyssac, 24220 Vezac, France and you can find out more here.
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Would you like to visit? Do you have any questions you’d like to ask before you go? Let me know in the comments box below and I’ll get back to you. X