The first planning of the Boulingrins gardens dates back to the construction of the Monte-Carlo Casino and the Hôtel de Paris. Towards the end of the 19th Century, the landscape architect André Edouard decided on a pronounced axial composition. Framed by rows of trees and lateral promenades, the large grassy bed at the heart of the Petite Afrique exotic park allowed for a monumental perspective on the Casino. This arrangement established a strong link with the surrounding landscape, as well as embedding itself within the collective memory of the Principality.
In 1989, a major transformation of the garden took place, with the construction of an underground parking lot along its historical axis. This was cut into the rock and covered over with a concrete slab, and although on the surface the perspective remained the same, the garden's composition was inverted. Lawn areas and trees were shifted to the edges, while a large mineral promenade, equipped with water jets and small flowerbeds, was created along the central axis.
From 2013 to 2018, during the construction of the One Monte-Carlo project designed by architect Richard Rogers, the gardens disappeared more or less entirely, as their central area was occupied by the impressive Monte-Carlo Shopping Promenade temporary pavilions. In 2019, the Michel Desvigne Paysagiste firm was entrusted exclusively with the project management of bringing these gardens back to life in less than a year.
Stemming from extensive documentary research, especially photographic, the enduring characteristics of the Boulingrins gardens are again transposed, restoring all the splendor of the site's historical heritage, and fitting it smoothly within the new neighborhood.
The new garden revives Boulingrin's classical design. Along the Casino axis, an alternating sequence of two long grassy excavations and three ponds reestablishes the monumental perspective. On both sides of this axis, two lateral promenades follow a gentle slope (with 10 meters of elevation over a length of around 150 meters). These walking paths are separated from the nearby streets by a plant screen made up of trees and flowerbeds. This thick buffer area allows both for the insulation of the paths from automobile traffic, as well as for a smooth topographic transition from the symmetrical composition of the Boulingrins gardens, to the heterogenous elements of the surrounding urban context.
The layout of the whole is crossed at four intervals by large “planted landings”. Designed as ramps as well as landings, they allow access for those with reduced mobility to the lateral promenades. Each crossing offers a miniaturized environment whose range of plants corresponds to a specific geographical region (southern subtropical Africa; subtropical America; oceanic New Zealand; oceanic Australia).
The new Boulingrins gardens provide an equally historical as physical connection.
From the Casino square, the Boulingrins gardens continue upwards via successive planted landings until reaching Costa Avenue. This sequence of planted environments functions together in reviving the tradition of exotic gardens the region is renowned for.
From the top, the garden presents a magnificent view of the Casino square. The sloping lawns are framed by large trees. These trees were potted in the spring of 2013 on Monte-Carlo Beach and transplanted back in 2019, finding again their place around the renewed historical perspective.
Monte Carlo Société des Bains de Mer
MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste
Phytoconseil, JM David plantations