Dear Roger Madec, Dear Jacques Martial, Dear Director General, Dear Florence Berthout,Ladies and Gentlemen,

The garden, the hortus of the Romans, is this special place where nature is
and landscape shaped by the hand of man. Its valour
but also its place in creativity, in innovation, in
development of a more shared ecological responsibility
gather today, here in La Villette.

Through urbanization and the transformation of lifestyles in
European metropolises, in fact, society’s view of the garden
and the landscape has changed dramatically in recent years.
The environmental challenge, the new modes of consumption but
also the success of cultural initiatives such as the Festival
the international gardens of Chaumont sur Loire explain the scope or
the Day of plants of the Domaine de Courson testify to this. I am in
convinced of the importance of gardens as heritage sites
but also as a field of experimentation and education.
Schoenbrunn at Boboli Gardens, from Villa Mateus near Lisbon
in the English gardens of Petsworth in Sussex, the
memory» of the European landscape do not lack and shape their
In this way an imaginary mapping of the European landscape.

Since its creation, the Parc de La Villette has made urban ecology and
one of the priorities of its renovation policy and
The Passenger Gardens, as you know, were born in 2000,
in the continuity of the ambitious and demanding exhibition of Gilles
Clément dedicated to the Planetary Garden. Since then, it has been
raising awareness of environmental issues among all
diverse flora from the 5 continents, through 17 planters where we
Until then, it found a grove, wasteland, pond and Mediterranean garden. In
2010, more than 15,000 visitors attended, including 6,000
gardeners coming to learn. Place of transmission, garden in
movement, they have continued to maintain a dialogue with the city through
gardening cycles, art courses, training workshops
suitable for all audiences.

With the help of the landscape agency Champ libre, this very
enjoyed by Parisians and visitors today benefits from a
extension of 1000 m2 in the ground, allowing to reinforce – with the
presence of a dry stone wall, a lagoon, a field hedge,
a dry garden, without forgetting the conservatory orchard - the discovery
ecological of the garden at the same time as learning about biodiversity.
For young Parisian audiences, for school children, this tool is
essential and allows a learning both playful and dreamlike. The
«Aromatic paths» with «wizard recipes», «songs
to the «Gardener Explorer»: as many invitations to travel and
educational tools to generate public interest in
“landscape intelligence”, this essential link between what we have
and what we will leave in the future.

I know the attention of a large establishment like La Villette
its close surroundings, the neighbourhoods of Paris, the municipalities that
adjacent to the park and I have no doubt that this extension of the Gardens
Passengers promote the meeting between generations and this requirement of
the transmission without which there can be no cultural policies
I am particularly pleased with the attention that has been paid to people in
disability in accordance with the general guidelines I have
announced on the occasion of the Commission nationale Culture-Handicap en
last September. Culture and creation are places of exchange and
meetings; there is no reason why audiences who attend them
be uniform, be identical. For me, culture is aggregation,
mix, diversity: it cannot be a place of exclusion, it cannot create
intimidation, it must never appear
I would like to thank the Operations and
the development of La Villette, which was the project owner, but also
patrons who have contributed to the extension of this learning place and
cultural democratization: the EDF Foundation, the Veolia Foundation
Environment. Other partners – I’m thinking of Ushuaïa TV or
the school of Breuil contribute to making known these gardens of a new
type, rich in several ecosystems, translation of these wastelands
"third landscapes" - to use the expression of Gilles Clément - who
shape the presence of nature in urban areas.

France, by the quality and diversity of its landscapes, often appears
in the eyes of these visitors as a garden in itself and its gardens form
a rare marquetry, witness to a botanical and landscape art
Poliphile’s Dream published in 1467 was one of the milestones for the invention of the
garden in the Renaissance. These gardens are also a place of creation, a place
open to other arts – sculpture, music, dance – a place
innovation and audacity. Contemporary art has invested this place with happiness,
following the reflection of the arte povera. I am thinking of course
sculptor Giuseppe Penone, author of an original and vibrant synthesis
between nature and fragments of the human body, which gives all its
strength and visual poetry at his work.

The next edition of the Rendez-vous aux Jardins will take place in a few
days and will be dedicated to the «Jardin Nourricier». This theme
citizens' concerns about food quality and
new modes of consumption. And I have no doubt that the Gardens
passengers of La Villette will continue to register, as they do every
year, in the big events that scan the calendar.
I wanted by my presence today to show you the attention and interest
I bring to these places of singular culture, but also
highlight how a multidisciplinary institution like La
Villette cannot be conceived without the close and constant links it maintains
with the city, with society, with its expectations and aspirations
to me, parks and gardens are more than just a place of
more than a leisure space. They are part of a
heritage and shared memory that must be transmitted. More
that a conservatory of know-how inherited from the past, they are also
laboratories open to creation, experimentation and research.
More generally, action to preserve and enhance parks and
gardens is part of a broader policy in favour of the landscape and
the environment – particularly as part of the training of future
architects and landscapers - which is at the heart of the missions of my
ministry. I know that the Etablissement public de la Villette
mission with efficiency and resolution, in a spirit of innovation that
these Gardens passenger places where very many visitors can
for a visit, a moment of happiness, sometimes even, a
moment of eternity or a plot of urban dream.

Thank you.