The garden is a place of well-being, of restfulness described by the Ancients and above all it is « the place where you feel well ». Acting on all the senses, it is a place of supreme peace and serenity: a perfect place for contemplation and stimulation of the imagination.
It is also the place that gives life to the plants that care for the body, and more generally medicinal herbs, aromatic plants, and herbs for use as garnishing. The garden creates medicines, but also ointments, perfumes, and flavours.
Sometimes considered to be a place of redemption from our torments, it is also a place that restores and cares for the mind. "Touching the earth" has an impact on our internal equilibrium and it has been possible to measure the power of the garden on cerebral and neurological pathologies. Physical exercise, intellectual activity, friendliness, everything in the garden works together to encourage positive energies.
The garden also cares for injured landscapes, which it embellishes, restores and repairs; it even contributes to purifying nature when it has been poisoned by human beings (pesticides, various types of pollution, etc.) with depolluting and detoxifying plants.
The garden cares for the soul and the body, but it also arouses passions, "body and soul" commitments in the cause of beauty, happiness and well-being. Stendahl wrote that "beauty is a promise of happiness". The garden knows how to keep this promise and give us the pleasure of contemplating it in all its invention and diversity.
Nobody nowadays can be unaware of how the garden takes care of us, deeply influences both body and mind and so helps "care" for us and heal us in various ways. Horticultural therapy, phytotherapy, hedonistic therapy are amongst the multitude of therapeutic practices engendered by the garden.
Jean-Pierre Changeux, the famous neurologist, has been appointed Chairman of the 2010 Jury. He is a trained biologist and is also the author of numerous publications on art, ethics and philosophy and in particular chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the preservation of national artistic heritage.
Around twenty gardens have been selected by the Jury from over 300 proposals that came in from all over the world. Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands are represented this year.
A “free green hand” will also be given to the novelist Jean-Pierre Le Dantec, a garden expert, to the landscape architect Michel Racine, to the visual artist, Béatrice Saurel, to the artists, Anne and Patrick Poirier and to the choregrapher Benjamin Millepied.
With “Gardens of Light”, a truly original illumination of the Festival’s plots, the visitor will also be invited to go on a truly unique nocturnal walk.
The 2010 gardens provide therapy for the soul as well as the body, and are an invitation into a world of serenity and harmony.