©Photo Illes Sarkantyu - Adagp, Paris

Art in the great outdoors

6 ideas for a cultural stroll in the countryside

When parks, gardens, lakes and forests become stages for the creations born of the imagination of contemporary artists, a walk becomes a cultural exploration. The enjoyment of walking and aesthetic emotions intertwine. Fabulous animals, human figures or abstract constructions play with scales and materials and reinvent the places they take over. Here’s a demonstration in six noteworthy suggestions!

In the blink of an eye

1. Kerguéhennec sculpture park

Bignan, open all year

A stone giant lying on the grass, a phoenix in cut-out metal or a circle of weathered bronze and granite pots are just some of the forty creatures and objects in the magnificent park of Domaine de Kerguéhennec between Vannes and Pontivy. In the middle of ancient trees, at the turn of a clearing or on the edge of the lake, the works by major contemporary creators invite you to take part in a game of artistic hide-and-seek. Most of them have been made specifically for the park and create a unique dialogue with the landscape.  To discover them, you can choose between two trails; one to the north of the castle, the other to the south. To help guide you, you can download the app “pARTcours kerguéhennec”, get a map of the park or opt for the family discovery booklet. Headphones on, dreamers can lose themselves in a literary stroll to the rhythm of writers’ texts read by actors from Théâtre de Lorient. The park is open all year.

Kerguéhennec sculpture park (FR)

Where to sleep :

2. Follow the Ribin paths

Côte des Légendes, accessible all year round

On the Côte des Légendes, near Morlaix, rocks, fountains and hollow trees have given rise to fabulous tales, passed down from generation to generation. They outline a unique geography that is now reflected in astonishing works of art. As you meander along the hiking circuits on the Côte des Légendes, keep your eyes open and let your imagination run wild. Did you notice the huge “dragon’s egg” at Pointe de Pontusval with its fifty facets in burned wood and its gilded interior where you can take a rest with an exceptional view of the lighthouse? And on Ile aux Vaches in Kerlouan, along the GR 34, what do you think these large black and white rocks refer to? In Folgoët, the wind will be your guide. It will take you to a surprising assembly of rods sketching the hollow of a tree. It reflects the shape of the Notre-Dame basilica, a gem of Gothic architecture. Follow the little side roads (Ribin in Breton) with a carefree mind full of dreams!

Les Ribin de l’imaginaire

Where to sleep : L’hôte antique in Brignogan-Plages

3. Château des Pères sculpture park

Piré-sur-Seiche, open all year.

At Château des Pères near Rennes, creation is essential and the sculpture park is one of its emblems. In the 31-hectare castle grounds, the sculptures, which are often figurative and sometimes abstract, inhabit the lawns, the undergrowth, the water features, etc. There is even a metal diver launching herself above the lake. A little further, David and Goliath, earth-coloured monumental bodies, introduce a barbaric note to the bucolic orchard setting. A place of life and culture, open to everyone, the park has a collection of several dozens of creations by well-known national and international artists. To discover over the seasons, before or after a tasty break in the castle restaurant.

Château des Pères sculpture park

Where to sleep : L’Essenciel

4. Manoli museum sculpture garden

La Richardais, open all year

Close to Rance, part of the work of the sculptor Manoli is unveiled in the setting of a charming floral garden next to the museum. Hanging from a branch, a trapeze artist gracefully launches himself. A little further, Poseidon’s horses prance in a group, while silent owls sit next to a placid sheep with its stylised spiralled fleece. A master of fire, the artist uses mainly metal, creates iridescence and plays with the surface. With the flame, he melts granite and gives it unusual depth. You can visit the garden freely, accompanied with a booklet or audio-guide. Children can pick up an adventure book. In summer, children’s educational workshops are organised.

Manoli museum sculpture garden

Where to sleep : Guest rooms Le Berceul


5. Etangs d’Art (Art Lakes)

Brocéliande, from June to October 2024

The Art Lakes event invite you on a human and artistic adventure. Every summer, artists moor their works on the water basins in Destination Brocéliande. These temporary creations combine imagination and technical and environmental challenges, together with artistic research. Belonging to Land Art, these figurative, abstract or even surreal installations inhabit the aquatic space with singular poetry. Made in natural materials that dissolve in the environment, or from machined materials, they combine dream and reality, play with the transparency of the water, light effects and plumes of mist.  Discover at your own pace, in the soft glow of dawn, the midday splendour or the blaze of the setting sun.

Etangs d’Art

Where to sleep : Hôtel Le Roi Arthur

6. Garden of arts

Châteaubourg, from May to September 2024

Every year for 20 years, Ar Milin park, a sumptuous green setting, becomes an open-air gallery featuring striking sculptures. Sinewy or rigid, organic or abstract, but always monumental and unique, the works collected in the gardens and at the heart of the town initiate an unexpected dialogue between nature and culture. So many artists, so many universes, so many virtuoso ways of dealing with matter, movement and balance. Wood, metal, earth, textiles, plants: the most diverse materials become totems, cocoons and assemblies under the artists’ inspiration, always in symbiosis with the surrounding area. Over here, the work is architectural and plastic; over there, a philosophical or poetic meditation. A stroll charged with emotions where the imagination takes over.

Garden of arts

Where to sleep : Logis-Hôtel Ar Milin’

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