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Domaine d’Orvès: 20 acres - Creators: Pierre and Henriette Deval (owners 1925-1993) and their daughter Françoise Darlington-Deval; Bernard Chanut (gardener), and more recently, Marcus Campbell (gardener); Pierre Quillier (horticultural advisor)
The current restoration programme began in 1993 and as is generally the case with the restoration of historic properties, has led to new beginnings, which have not been entirely trouble free. What resources are available in Provence today for an owner who wants to breathe new life into a valuable private garden, protecting her heritage but also sharing it with a wider community? The Domaine d'Orvès is an exceptional property, besieged by vigorous urban expansion, no doubt necessary but not always well planned. When the painter Pierre Deval and his wife bought the property in 1925, the town of La Valette du Var was a market gardener's village particularly blessed by climate and location. Sheltered from the wind by Mount Coudon, watered by well-stocked springs, it specialized then in the production of violets and strawberries. The Domaine, situated on the slopes of the Coudon, looked down on the steeple of this charming community. Its own abundant water flow was directed by two Persian wheels (norias) through a system of canals (called goulottes) for the irrigation of watercress and artichokes, leeks, and even arum lilies. The hillside behind, which is much dryer, was covered with olive and almond orchards and vineyards.
And then, beginning in 1985, various road projects and housing developments started to encroach on the Domaine. The painter and his wife began to fight back, and in 1993, they managed to get the property listed by the Monuments Historiques. Orvès (also called the Castle of Castellane) has a particularly rich history.
For nearly 30 years, the Domaine has evolved. It is known and recognized as one of the most beautiful gardens to visit, in France. It is a classified ‘Jardin remarquable’ by the Committee for Parks and Gardens of France and the Association of Parks and Gardens PACA. We welcome you from March to October by appointment. Enjoy your visit..