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The gardens of the Berbie palace

Cité épiscopale d’Albi

Installed by the first Archbishop of Albi, Hyacinthe Serroni, the Berbie palace’s two terraces and the ’classical’ garden were completed at the end of the 17th century. They shift the emphasis of palace life towards the banks of the Tarn and the views beyond, reflecting the epoch’s taste for nature and the picturesque.

The gardens as we see them today are the result of the transformation of the lower courtyard into an ornamental space between 1687 and 1703.

The work was carried out over three levels, an upper terrace, a lower terrace and the garden itself in the lowest part of the court. At the end of the 18th century Monseigneur de Stainville, brother of Archbishop Choiseul added the marble statues, representing the seasons, that we see today on the gardens’ pathway.

In the same spirit of ornamentation the Bishops truncated the enormous buttresses of the northern end of the Suffragans’ wing and used the bases of the buttresses of tour Sainte-Catherine to create large terraces allowing the recently refurbished chambers of this part of the palace to open directly onto the garden.

Every year this meticulously maintained garden is put on show according to a theme reflected throughout the town.

At the southern end, the ’jardin de broderies’ (’embroidered garden’) bears witness to the care given to restore these gardens to their previous splendour.

All maintenance work (watering, pruning, cleaning...) is performed manually, a restriction imposed by the layout of the site but also by the desire for a precision and quality of workmanship fitting to this outstanding part of our heritage.

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