Mediterranean Biodiversity in the Spotlight at Domaine du Rayol in Southern France
Located between Le Lavandou and Saint-Tropez, Domaine du Rayol is a protected natural area owned by Conservatoire du Littoral, France’s coastal conservancy. Visitors to the estate can explore ten Mediterranean gardens inspired by different places around the world. Now more than ever, it is important to raise awareness of the features of the site’s landscaping, designed to preserve biodiversity, at the start of each visit. With this in mind, TotalEnergies Foundation is helping fund a new presentation room for the public to find out more about biodiversity issues.
At Domaine du Rayol, paths totaling 5 kilometers criss-crossing the estate lead visitors through gardens reminiscent of California, the Canary Islands, Chile, South Africa, Asia and subtropical America. When landscape gardener and avid traveler Gilles Clément was asked by the Conservatoire du Littoral in 1989 to work his magic on the site, he dreamed up a journey through landscapes inspired by regions of the world with climates similar to the conditions found on the Mediterranean coast.
Gilles came up with three concepts to design his Mediterranean gardens: a moving garden, a planetary garden and a “third landscape”. His philosophy was to trust nature rather than attempt to tame it, letting the landscapes change throughout the seasons and reflect the circulation of genes and the mixing of species, an essential part of biodiversity.
Among the 80,000 visitors welcomed each year at Domaine du Rayol, many explore the site without knowing much about the ideas behind this work. This is why the Domaine du Rayol association plans to set up a presentation room to explain more about the site, inform the public about Mediterranean flora and fauna, and raise awareness of climate and environmental issues.
As part of its commitment to Climate, Coastal Areas and Oceans, TotalEnergies Foundation is contributing financially to the creation of this room, from building work to the production of presentation films.