Monday, January 20, 2014

Garden I Love: Beauty and a Very Rare Exclusive Offer Only for Readers of The Style Saloniste

A Celebration of French Photographer Guy Hervais and the Most Beautiful Garden in Provence

Come with me this week and escape for a very rare and private visit to Curcuron and the Pavillon de Galon and its glorious garden.

It’s the creation of the brilliant French photographer/landscape designer, Guy Hervais. 

I earlier published on THE STYLE SALONISTE the gardens he designed in the Luberon—and his landscapes and gardens have proved to be among the most popular stories on THE STYLE SALONISTE.

I’ve written about his global photography in earlier posts (check my blog Archive) and now I want you to come and stroll around his own garden.

You’ll see his landscape in the glory days of summer—and in a photograph shot just for THE STYLE SALONISTE by Guy last week you will see it in poetic winter.

You’ll definitely want to pour a glass or two of wine to view and read and savor. Find a Provencal wine, perhaps a Chateau de Canorgue that I’ve visited, in the Luberon near Guy’s property. His own wine, Hocus Pocus, is crafted in very small editions. It’s organic and wonderfully elegant. Or a tisane of chamomile would be in the spirit. Sip, put your feet up, and come for a dream visit to a garden of delight which you can visit when next in the South of France.

Please be sure to read my interview below with Guy Hervais. In it he makes a very very special offer, only for readers of THE STYLE SALONISTE. If you dream of living in Provence, this could be your moment. See the interview below.

You’ve seen beautifully composed images of Guy Hervais in all the top French style magazines, as well as travel publications and Vogue and The World of Interiors. They are always joyful, capturing a sense of love for place, architecture, style, fashion, humanity, chic people and the world.

He lives in Provence with his wife, Bibi Gex, and with love has created one of the most beautiful gardens there. Here you will see the sculpture of grass, the calligraphy of his trees, the vapor trails of backlit hedges, and the blurring of his garden and the ‘borrowed landscape’ and hills beyond.

Guy Hervais

Guy sent me, last week, a new portrait of himself.

French photographer Guy Hervais travels the world—and captures remarkable interiors, dramatic chateaux and palaces, along with romantic houses and stylish people. There’s a chic perfection to his work, and a glorious sensuality that is rare and to be celebrated. There is also great wonder in the garden he has created over many patient years—in the Luberon, in the south of France.

The beauty of the seasons. Guy has designed his garden so that it is rich in visual pleasure year-round. He has also designed it with PERFUME in mind…and there is a luscious scent all year.

Meeting a Remarkable Man:  Photographer and Gardener Guy Hervais

Guy and his wife Bibi Gex, a noted stylist, acquired their property in 1998. He considers it a work in progress, and in the meantime it is full of ideas, inspirations and lessons for any garden lover or landscape designer. Come and listen in to our recent chat.

DDS: You designed the garden. How many years have you been working on it?

I started to live and feel what will become the garden at first look, at the very first second. (1998)

I've learned that all in a garden is a question of instant, as in our lives.

It's the permanent evolution of our conscious and unconscious, which makes our sensibility, and our creations afterwards

So we took our time and remembering "the garden in movement" from Gilles Clément and a little essay, I wrote sometimes ago, called "the garden in full liberty".

DDS: You believe in giving the garden and plants freedom, and enjoying the free-form style of cultivated and uncultivated plants.

As gardeners ourselves, we could gaze at "the good" of the bad weeds and kept them during 6 years to observe the "wild".

It was luxury to take so much time. I'd just added some flower seeds in the middle of all that natural flora, such as nigella, poppies, borage, for example, and other herbs.

It was wonderful, but the beauty of it was too short on time: only two beautiful weeks per year!

DDS: I admire that you started slowly, experimenting and observing.

In 2004, I started to draw and then plant the "jardin à la française", that I love to call "the fake jardin à la française", as the alleys are in grass (so terribly more comfortable than beaten earth) 
and the symmetries are voluntarily abandoned, as I prefer balance to it, like in "real life". 

The plants are managed like keeping 50% living their free life and 50% worked and shaped by the hands of man

This mixing is for me ideal as it participates with the grandiose views that we have from here.

The colors are a mix of Blue, Green and Grey — exactly like the colors in the around distant landscape.

A garden breathing: inhaling the landscape and expiration back to it. Something likes timeless meditation. It's a garden originally made for chatting and exchanging philosophies. Ideally.

The reminiscence of my preferred and most ancient Persian gardens. All started with the gardens in Babylon.

DDS: The main terrace in front of the Pavillon?

It's one of the last example surviving of what was in the 18th Century, an "untouched" terrace of a Provencal bastide.

All trees here are 250 years old, like the three enormous plane trees, the Magnolia Grandiflora, brought back from Louisiana in 1760,
only 18 years after the first one brought to Europe, (still seeable in Le Jardin des Plantes in Paris) to King Louis the 15th in 1742, the wisterias and jasmine covered pergolas, the small boxwood labyrinth, and in the middle "the sultan pool" and it's emerald colors, the sound of water jet and the magic of the reflections of waters... 

The views show the perspectives of the gardens downward. All those old trees are naturally magic and when you touch them, they may fulfill your wishes.

DDS: Some of the trees and plants?

The complete French national collection of artichokes (24 varieties), the local perfumed Lavenders, blue butterfly trees, Irises pallida (in Spring), Boxes (aged 250 years), many types of Salvias, Myrthus, Cistus, Euphorbias and many others...I should be telling all the varieties in Latin, but I do that only with some visitors, if everyone understands it.

DDS: Now you have a fantastic wine with a marvelous name.

Yes we make this delicious wine called Hocus Pocus that we started in 2007, with an appellation Côtes du Luberon.

I make it with my friend Sylvain Morey, from the Morey family creating a very famous and grand Burgundy Chassagne Montrachet.

We produced only 1,000 bottles per year, choosing the very finest grapes.

It tastes like a dream: something like raspberry and cherry jam associated with different peppers subtly appearing...

Elegant and complex. Hocus Pocus is naturally a very private wine, but we share it with friends, family, and wine-loving guests and

DDS: Le Pavillon de Galon is striking, a fantasy structure overlooking the garden.

As hosts, we only do have two en-suite bedrooms, with their private entrance, gardens and terraces, an infinity swimming pool
and naturally all access to all gardens and good tips for discovering the "real Provence".

A special offer only for readers of THE STYLE SALONISTE:

Exceptionally and I'm glad to announce it only to "THE STYLE SALONISTE", we may rent in 2014 for at least 3 months to one year, the whole Pavilion and property, to someone wishing to live a real unique experience 
and enjoy the region at it's best (this includes 4 En suite bedrooms, 2 living rooms and all the rest of the Lodge). 

We believe that a movie director or a novelist would get a beautiful inspiration staying here and have an unforgettable time. I'll be away, in the Mediterranean, dedicated to creating new gardens in the Balearic Islands at that time.

DDS: Garden: please tell us about each section, around the house, the enclosed garden, and the wild garden...le jardin sauvage.

We have around thirteen acres, with several gardens: a spiral with olive trees and wild flowers, a pine and broom avenue that we named "les Champs-Elysées".

There is an olive grove, vineyards, a fig orchard (with 40 varieties), a truffle trees that is like a little forest. A winter’s occupation is looking for truffles and cooking them on the fireplace in the evening with beautiful tastes and smells, 'un régal'. (a treat, a trophy, a gift). 
A fruit orchard with around 125 different varieties of fruits for all year around.

The swimming pool has its fans, and the color is as clear as a water spring, Privacy is one of the keys to have it beautiful.

And for the real swimmers, some years ago, we found underground an "Olympic Roman pool" aged 2000 years (33 meters long on 14 large and 1.65 m depth).

The archeologists went a little mad and crazy when they came to see it.

The water is only a water spring and you swim in real Nature.

DDS: Bibi Gex is a world-renowned stylist and fashion reporter and the interior designer.

Yes, Bibi is my wife, my muse; we are sharing souls and she helps me so much on my research for Paradise on earth!

We know how to fusion together or leave each other, light, for creation. We are complementary one to the other.

DDS: How far away is your house/studio.

My studio is located in one of the two wings of Le Pavillon. It is so good to be able to create in pajamas. On the ground floor, there is one studio dedicated to Photography and Book design.

One floor above, a large white room, is a perfect space for creating and drawing new gardens for clients internationally.

DDS: Le parfum dans l'air: please describe the fragrance of your garden.

Only perfumes, plural, and changing with seasons and moments of the day. A Provencal garden should be composed only with aromatic plants, such as lavender and thyme and rosemary, with strong essences. We had the chance to study the uses of those (and we are still doing it).

DDS: Les saisons: Seasons?

All seasons are extraordinary here. It's mostly dry and sunny all year long, with strong contrasts in winter between night and days, and in the summer, between full sun and peaceful shadows.

My preferred are all. Each one being dramatically unique in all the senses and for all what it provides to us...

DDS: On peut y a un potager? Do you cook? Is there a vegetable garden?

Cooking is very important in our lives and our kitchen shows it. Bibi does the classical French cuisine bourgeoise; I do go more to unique interpretations depending who comes for diner.

Always a new inspiration. Our vegetable garden is planted with all our selection of old tomatoes, aubergines and all Mediterranean vegetables. Apart of those we have fun in collecting several varieties of chilies, basils and seeds we took back from our travels. Seeds are essential to life in all the senses.

“I personally take care of all in my gardens—choice of plants, style of planting, pruning, diseases and enjoyment of Beauty.” — Guy Hervais

About the Garden

“Those photographs are mainly part of our labeled "jardin remarkable", a very good title offered to few gardens by the Ministry of Culture and Environment.” — Guy Hervais

The village of Curcuron has everything you need on a day-to-day basis, so there is no need to go anywhere else. 
Within a one-hour drive are the Palais des Papes in Avignon, the fountains in Aix-en-Provence, the antiques markets at Isle sur Sorgue, and 
the Roman arenas in Arles, the Mediterranean wild and pristine coasts or simply taste the Bouillabaisse in Marseille.

Closer to Cucuron there are tour of the hill villages of the Luberon: Lourmarin, Gordes, Bonnieux, Menerbes, Ansouis, Lacoste, Gordes, Roussillon, Goult, Oppède.
For more activity, there is plenty to do from golf, tennis, trekking, mountain-biking, rock climbing, horse riding... 
For cultural diversions, there are internationally renowned festivals including an opera festival in Aix, a piano festival at Roque d'Antheron,
a theatre festival in Avignon and a myriad of events all year around.

About Guy Hervais: A Charming Story of a Life Well Lived

The Short Biography of My Times, by Guy Hervais

In the Fifties:
Born and lived in Paris 8th Arrondissement, Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, in the world of galleries and haute couture.

Weekends discovering the gardens of my grandparents in the nearby forêt de Montmorency.

In the Sixties:
Studying , Drawings and Music (piano).

In the Seventies:
Sponge fisher in the Mediterranean, private cook in Venice during several winters.

Start photography, and journalism. Adventures and discoveries in my hometown Paris. First regular participations with British Vogue and other international luxury tittles.

Hand painted photography for designers, perfume, hair & make up campaigns. Works on Beauty.

In the Eighties:
Photography. Consultation on food for restaurants internationally.

Start working on architecture for international magazines, always searching for exceptional places.

In the Nineties:
Productions (as independent) on interior and architectural subjects for books and magazines.

In 2000: Adding the “planting and picking fruits “emotion, living in Nature.

Creation of experimental gardens with plantings, architecture & design. In 1998, going to live in the South to the Mediterranean landscapes, in the Luberon, inland Provence.

Production and collaborations continue with quality medias.

Art director on the image and communication for luxury hotels and palaces in Africa, India, France, GB, India, Tahiti, Asia.

In 2010:
Constant experimentations, studies & observations on gardens.

Creation and restorations of gardens for private clients (Italy, France.)

Launching a new editorial house ‘Garden-Secret’, creating bespoke coffee table books dedicated to private patrimony (garden & architecture), which are privately published exclusively and only for their owners.

In 2014:
Using all the discoveries and knowledge of these beautiful precedent years.

Drawing and creating gardens for clients around the Med.

Holding the Studio for editorials with beautiful projects and for garden creations with strong visions.

With my beloved wife Bibi, we found Le Pavillon de Galon in 1998 as a beautiful hunting lodge from the mid of the 18th Century. We moved from Paris, with no doubts.

“Two thousand years ago, at the Roman times, it was the place of an important patrician villa, as there were important water springs running here and the soil was pretty fertile.

We have permanently respected all this history and stories in recreating our style, inside and outside. We have totally restored it, keeping the very ancient ways of the Provençal builders, like the real local colored ochres, and chalk for the facades.

As we live here all year long, we are looking for a simple and beautiful way of enjoying our different spaces. Only the “real pieces” and items that we love and shared our lives with are living with us.

Colors and light make a lot here. When we are inside, we believe that ‘all’ is outside, and when outside, you may wonder how it’s inside… No questions about antique, ancient, or modern contemporary design - only our feelings are telling our style, our love.

We have the luck to have some original prototypes from designer friends that we enjoyed a lot (Provencal, French, Italian and Russian artists mixed together, a kind of soft Bohemian mix of the 18C with timeless contemporary touches).

Naturally, we love cooking and creating with all we could find everyday in our domain.

By far our kitchen is extremely simple and luxurious… the reason why our kitchen is an important room in our house.

Our Studio for photography and editorial, another one for drawing and designing gardens are conceived for a maximum concentration.”

—Guy Hervais, Provence, January 2014.

Where to Stay:

Le Pavillon de Galon
En-suite bedrooms, breakfast included.
Cooking Lessons (meal included).


Phone : +33 (0) 4 90 77 24 15
Fax : +33 (0) 4 90 77 12 55 

All photography by Guy Hervais, published here with express permission of the photographer.

CONTACT: See the magical editorial and commercial photography by Guy Hervais on his website. He has created delicious images in Sri Lanka, and in Tahiti he created magical images of a palm-thatched beachside house I published in my Taschen book, ‘Seaside Interiors’.


Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Friends-

I've received wonderful messages in response to Guy Hervais and his divine property.

Lots of comments and 'likes' were set in motion on FACEBOOK and I received the following lovely message from KAREN VILLANUEVA and great designer in San Francisco:

Diane, I am swept away by your latest post! I feel like I just traveled to Provence.
Guy Hervais's exquisite photographs and designs combined with your captivating writing makes this an excellent piece - beautiful in every way!
I am marking this as a favorite on my reading list, which I am sure will be revisited many times.
Excellent bedtime reading, ready to slip away to a sweet slumber..
Thank you so much Diane.


Karen Villanueva
Founder & Principal Designer of Villanueva Design
San Francisco . New York City

La Contessa said...

STUNNING…………..No other word describes these gardens!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Thank you so much for your comment.

You are of course the expert, the queen of style and antiques. You must go and visit Guy next time.

best DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


I received lots of comments on FACEBOOK and all the pincers on PINTEREST are picking these images up and pinning like mad.

It's fascinating--if you do a search on PINTEREST for THE STYLE SALONISTE…pages and pages and pages of images from my blog all come up on thousands of people's inspiration board. I'm really happy that THE STYLE SALONISTE is such an inspiration and taste-maker for so many people around the US.
It's fascinating to see these pages come up…endless images…and what people especially love and want to emulate.
Guy Hervais is of course a major taste-maker and style director…and I'm happy that his influence will continue and go out to the world. best DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Friends-

My lovely friend Suzanna Allen send over the following message today:

How very very lovely SUZANNA

Sent from my iPad


SUZANNA ALLEN is of course an icon of style and a great antiques and design connoisseur.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Friends-

I've also posted the link to the GUY HERVAIS STORY on FACEBOOK…for my 4,029 friends…and among comments was the following from SHELBY DE QUESADA a leading designer in San Francisco:

Shelby de Quesada commented on a link you shared.
Shelby wrote: "speechless!"

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Friends-

Le Pavillon de Galon has been extremely popular on FACEBOOK…where I placed the link.

Today, Steven Favreau posted the following:

Steven Favreau Diane, this is one of your best features yet. In a field of so many great articles, that is a tough personal best. Thank you for such a thorough and diverse picture of this amazing property and the creator. Makes me yearn to take them up on their offer. Great work. Thank you!
22 hours ago · Like · 3

Concrete Jungle said...

It may be hard to remove the is
so very gorgeous!

Karena said...

Breathtaking Diane, what a fascinating and accomplished man!

The Arts by Karena

*Chic Provence* said...

Dear Diane, needless to say I am stunned at this beautiful Provencal garden! I have toured Mme. Lafourcade's gardens in Provence but not seen Guy Hervais' is now on my must see list for the next visit to Provence in May.. thank you so much for a gorgeous post!

Miss you, we need to get together soon! Fillmore Street?

big bisou


Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Kit-

Yes, you must go on a tour…and tell him you are a dear friend of mine.

He and Bibi are lovely…and would welcome you…oh, and go and stay there sometime.

happy to hear from you…and hope to see you soon…DIANE

Michael Hampton said...

While reading this beautiful post I found myself taking a deep breath and felt myself transported back to Provence. My partner and I stayed in Lacoste a couple of years ago and had the most magical experience. I can smell the lavender, hear the warm summer breezes and feel the sun on my face. Which is wonderful considering that its 15 degrees in DC right now. On the last night of our trip we treated ourselves to a truly extraordinary and memorable dinner at Eric Sapet's legendary La Petite Maison de Cucuron. I am sure that Monsieur Hervais knows it well. Thanks for another inspiring post!