The Jardin des Fontaines Pétrifiantes:
a place outside of time
In the Department of Isère, in the village of La Sône, the Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes will amaze children and grown-ups alike. Its flora and ubiquitous water are presented in the form of fun trails plus repurposed objects.
Set off to discover our favourite plants, mysteries of nature, and rare wonders selected by our gardeners. Also discover the phenomenon of petrification on the tufa rock formations – incredible natural creations sculpted by spring water.
Self-guided tour of the Jardin des Fontaines Pétrifiantes
Stroll at your own pace around the Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes, a destination that weds poetry with crazy ideas imagined by our gardeners.
Open your eyes to spot the creations and repurposed objects reflecting the gardeners’ creativity.
Take time to explore the garden’s treasures, step by step. You’ll need to tour the garden several times to discover every nook and cranny.
A paradise with a thousand springs unveils the secret of petrification
A source of water originating under Chambaran Plateau trickles underground locally, and one branch emerges in La Sône.
During its journey, this rainwater is acidified by the surrounding earth.
The spring has made its way through the limestone rocks – carving, perforating, and inevitably becoming laden with sediment. This unexpected journey pressurises the water, causing it to emerge in spectacular fashion: a waterfall bursts forth at the heart of the garden. Once above ground, the water loses its gas and the dissolved limestone is deposited on the first obstacles the water encounters (plants, rocks, objects).
Carbonate minerals cover the mosses and other plants, which undergo petrification and form the light, porous rock called tufa.
The water from such springs is said to be petrifying. This phenomenon produces tufa formations – natural gems that can be observed in the Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes.
Tufa formations and floral combinations
The garden is a harmonious and original blend: more than 800 species of flowers and plant forms beckon you on a botanical world tour – covering exotic, Mediterranean, aquatic and tropical plants.
This symphony of plants and flowers, with water setting the mood, begins discreetly in wide calm ponds and concludes in a spectacle of cascading spray.
Discover the private life of this mineral paradise, where the gardeners do not tame nature but creatively interpret it with the sole purpose of protecting the vegetation that covers the earth.
Water, flowers, wood and rock live here in harmony.
Beneath the waterfall, the magic of water: the crystalliser
In a man-made cave there are wooden ladders called crystallisers.
Placed on them are all sorts of pottery items. The falling water deposits tiny calcite crystals, creating a delicate and sparkling skin on the items. It takes 2-3 months for a 3 mm deposit to form.
These transformed items are also available in our shop at the Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes.
The Jardin des Fontaines Pétrifiantes:
an exceptional natural attraction
In the Department of Isère, on the edge of the
Le site est un lieu de découverte et de détente. L'eau accompagne le visiteur dans ce site féerique où le travail des jardiniers met en valeur de nombreuses espèces végétales avec humour et poésie.
27 years of history and discovery
at the Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes
Back in the early 1990s, the Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes did not yet exist. There was just a vacant piece of land, partly covered by rubbish.
Because the Paddlewheel Boat cruises right past it, brothers Gilbert and Robert Jean purchased the site and cleaned it up, so that passengers would see tidy banks.
Then the Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes was designed, and opened to the public in 1994. Each curve and each topographic element was carefully conceived, designed and structured.
In 2014, the Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes began a customer satisfaction and continual improvement programme, which earned it the Qualité Tourisme mark – renewed in 2018 for a five-year term.
In 2018, the garden also obtained the Jardin Remarquable label, a distinction that rewards how it is cared for, its botanical diversity, and its unusual features such as the tufa formations and the waterfall.