We all know about Euro Disneyland, and about Banksy’s quasi-successful, sarcastic take on theme parks, but if cuteness and unmitigated snark aren’t your thing, Europe is home to another magical getaway. This place is refreshing in its honesty and artistic merit.
We’re talking about Le Moulin Jaune — a hauntingly beautiful garden and park located about an hour outside of Paris. It’s a surreal place full of ever-changing exhibits and seasonal gardens, but what’s really remarkable is that it was born from the imagination of one man.
The park is named for the bright yellow castle that sits along the Marne River.
There’s always something to marvel at.
And interesting characters to meet.
There are also some seriously cool installations.
Things like this, for example, are pretty common occurrences.
Slava Polunin is an avant-garde performance artist and professional clown.
Polunin grew up in the Soviet Union, and as a child, he was fascinated with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. He became a mime in the early 1980s, and staged a parade of 800 mimes in the streets of St. Petersburg as a parody of the strict regulation of artistic events.
He might have been in serious trouble — if he wasn’t so funny. He would go on to have great success across the world, and he even created an award-winning Broadway play called Snowshow. Today, he spends his time dreaming up new ideas for his gardens while floating in a bed on the Marne River.
Today, the park is managed by Polunin, his family, and a band of performers.
The place is fairly large, and packed to the brim with things to look at. You can stroll through five colorful gardens, each one with a theme and a wide variety of seasonal plants and flowers.
You can also marvel at the large-scale sculptures and art installations, or stop by a cafe that looks like a capsized ship. There are hundreds of wonders to admire at this unique park.
The gardens have themes. The Black Garden, seen here, was inspired by childhood fears.
These bizarre wooden structures give it a dark, whimsical feel.
The Red Garden was inspired by Korean Buddhism, and it even features an imported temple.
The White Garden was inspired by India, and is a pale, serene space full of white flowers and (harmless) white sharks.
Le Moulin Jaune regularly hosts events, workshops, and parties for people of all ages.
(via Messy Nessy Chic)
Polunin wants to bring joy into people’s lives. “My first merit — and perhaps the only one — is to be able to inspire people to want to do everything with joy,” he says. “If what you do does not give you pleasure, do something else.”
Le Moulin Jaune is open during the summer, and closes for the colder months. Even if you can’t make it to France, you can see much more of the gardens’ wonders on their website and Facebook page. There’s also a film about Slava Polunin and his performance art in the works right now, and you can see the trailer here.