The Kerguéhennec estate
A château where life revolves around art and nature
The Kerguéhennec estate is the jewel in the crown of the Bignan district, 30 km from Vannes. In its vast landscaped grounds you’ll find an 18th century château and a sculpture park that’s ranked as one of the best in Europe. You’ll make some surprising discoveries as you stroll through the artwork and the trees, from the greenhouse to the stables and in the heart of the woods.
Sculptures growing in the grounds
Visitors get their first surprise soon after entering the estate: brightly coloured works of art can be seen emerging from the lake. Around 30 monumental sculptures are dotted across the park - along the paths, round the corner of a low wall or in the heart of the woods. Some blend into the scenery, some stand out in contrast, and the quirkiness of these creations leaves visitors surprised, amused and amazed. It’s like a cheeky treasure hunt that’s fun for newcomers as well as experienced players.
Follow the unusual trails at your own pace
Anyone is free to wander along the trails that lead from one sculpture to the next. Feel free to stop for a chat with a bronze figure, or picnic on the grass beside a granite giant, or run along a wood-block floor in the open-air…Gardeners might find themselves bemused by Jean-Pierre Raynaud’s 1,000 red plant pots, reflected and multiplied by the greenhouse. Beside the river, you can let your imagination run riot and call on the spirits of the air, caught in Elisabeth Ballet’s gigantic cage. Or you can post yourself as a lookout inside a hut with shapely arrow slits cut out by Julien Laforge. Wood, granite, steel and bronze - everything takes on unusual shapes and stirs the imagination.
Modern art in the historic château
In the middle of these creations, at the top of the little valley, stands the château, a listed historic monument. It was built in 1710, inspired by the style of Versailles and Louis XI’s architects. The main body of the building, with a pavilion on either side, observes the elegant symmetry that was much admired at the time of the Enlightenment. Inside, the 19th century decor is a far cry from the 21st century and the contemporary art exhibitions that are held here.
A new lease of life for rural architecture
There’s a range of heritage buildings spread out around the château. To the left you’ll find stables and a sheep shed, which have been converted to provide an attractive exhibition space and café area. Behind the stone walls, pride of place goes to paintings by Breton artist Tal-Coat. The organisers also arrange artists’ workshops and artists-in-residence. A few minutes’ walk brings you to the Chapelle de la Trinité, right at the edge of the estate. The Moulin du Roc and its locks are a lovely sight, reflected in the depths of the lake.
Unspoiled nature that inspires creation
Avenues sweep through the 175-hectare estate, linking creativity with heritage. They were laid out by the landscape artist Denis Bülhler, who designed the Jardins du Thabor in Rennes. The south garden starts off in the French style before opening up onto a wooded area. The northern side flirts with the English style. The Count of Lanjuinais, the former owner, planted an arboretum here, and species from all over the world add colour, or provide shade to the lawns. Sequoias and tulip trees stand side by side with local species. Some, through their age and beauty, have grown into remarkable trees. Woodpeckers, red-breasted nuthatches and treecreepers live in their foliage. This is an exceptional spot where nature and contemporary culture thrive hand in hand.
Did you know?
Art that goes over your head!
The Kerguéhennec estate has lots of fun events on the agenda. Besides the artists’ workshops, bird-watching excursions are organised, and you can also go on an expedition to learn to climb trees in complete safety.
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