The Making of the French Garden

The Making of the French Garden

The Gardens of the Château de Valmer

Thursday, January 27 at 12:00 p.m.
$10 Member • $20 Non-member • Free for students*
On Zoom • In English • 12:00 p.m. Chicago(CST) /1:00 p.m. Miami (EST)/19h Paris

Register now

12:00 p.m. (Chicago) • 1:00 p.m. (Miami)  7:00 p.m. (Paris) 

* Entrée Libre initiative: Free for students high school, college, university. Please register with your .edu address


Following the success of our Grands Châteaux Series last winter, Russell Kelley spent the summer visiting the Grands Jardins de France! Our curator extraordinaire returns with a live online series exploring the evolution of the French garden through history, from the Renaissance to the Vertical Garden.  Get ready to travel through time and go green!


The Gardens of the Château de Valmer

Like its neighbor in the Loire Valley the Château de Villandry, the Château de Valmer dates back to the reign of François 1er. And like Villandry, the gardens at Valmer are laid out on a series of terraces that follow the slope of the hillside and end with the one-hectare/2.5-acre ornamental kitchen garden (potager) that once fed 40 people and now grows edible plants and flowers to be enjoyed during the summer as well as vegetables to be preserved in the tufa cellars during the winter. The château’s moat has become a separate garden. The domain also produces some excellent Vouvray wines!

Speaker: Alix de Saint Venant and her husband Aymar are the fourth generation of their family to own the Château de Valmer since 1888.  Passionate about Valmer, Alix rediscovered the 17th century plan for the gardens, became a landscape gardener, and dedicated herself to the restoration of its Renaissance gardens. Alix is the co-author of Le Potager d’Alix de Saint Venant au château de Valmer (EPA, 2013). Finally, her son Jean is in charge of the 86-acre/35-hectare vineyard, taking over from his father and ensuring that the fifth generation will carry on the family tradition.


Russell Kelley is the curator and moderator of this lecture series and was the curator of last winter’s series on the “Grands Châteaux of the Loire and Île de France.” He is the author of The Making of Paris: The Story of How Paris Evolved from a Fishing Village into the World’s Most Beautiful City (Lyons Press, 2021), and has lived in Paris for 30 years.


Support and Save! Become an Alliance Française member for as little as $85 a year for a Library + Culture membership.


This program is presented in partnership with the Alliance Française Miami Metro with communication support from the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA, the French Heritage Society, the Historic Gardens Foundation, WICE and The Garden Conservancy.

Through our Entrée Libre initiative, free admission to this program is offered to students enrolled in French Studies in universities and French schools in Chicago and the Midwest.