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L'Etang de Fontmerle

Fontmerle Pond is home to Europe’s largest lotus colony

Fontmerle Pond, on the edge of Parc de La Valmasque, is a rare, remarkable 5-hectare site, a pristine natural pond with an astonishing collection of lotus plants, introduced there in the 1960s by the former owner, Maurice Gridaine, and which have grown since to become Europe’s largest lotus colony.

These sublime plants are in bloom from July to mid-September with flowers up to 25cm in diameter and leaves up to 1 metre across.

Around the pond, bald cypress trees from Florida bare their roots, known as knees or pneumatophores, which develop outside the water.

The pond is also remarkable for its wealth of bird life: over 70 species identified, some living their permanently, others only in winter.

The pond is part of Parc de La Valmasque and is open to visitors year round.

On a hill above the pond stands Le Manoir de l’Étang, now a hotel. After World War II, Maurice Gridaine, an architect who designed film theatres including the first Festival Hall in Cannes, fell in love with the buildings in ruins.

In 1949, Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais went there, in an attempt to revive a project dear to Marcel Pagnol, to create cinema studios, but this project was completely eclipsed by the rise of Cinecittà in Italy.

 

Opening period: 

Open every day / Free entrance / Free car park

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