Bricks, wood, and roses are a fairly accurate description of Gerberoy! In the former region of Picardy, yet close to Normandy, these dual influences are reflected in the village’s architecture, offering an insight into why post-impressionist painter, Henri Le Sidaner, fell in love with it. This designer of magnificent Italianate gardens transmitted his passion for roses to the villagers. © Cyril Preiss
Set between the former realms of France and England, Gerberoy deserves its ranking amongst the Loveliest Villages in France. Its strategic position meant that it saw many conflicts unfold: between the 11th and the 15th centuries, William the Conqueror challenged his own son, King John. The Burgundians also came through, along with Henry IV, Louis XIII, and Richelieu. Thankfully enough for Gerberoy, painter Henri Le Sidaner visited Gerberoy in 1900, following advice from his friend Auguste Rodin, and fell in love with the village. Having bought a house in 1904, he went on to renovate it over the years, designing gorgeous Italianate gardens on the ruins of a 19th century castle. Flowers were so central to his gardens that every year for the past 90 years, the “City of Roses” celebrates roses throughout the month of June. The half-timbered blue house which was built in 1691 represents a vernacular architecture with influences from Picardy and Normandy typical of the area. It illustrates a perfect picture of a bucolic village where time seems to have come to a still.