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France / Marseille

Le Mas Joyeux

Sharing a garden across the generations, in the heart of Marseille

Marseille’s 10th arrondissement is home to a garden shared by children living away from their parents, in care, and the residents of three nearby homes for the elderly. The space hosts a number of community projects encouraging exchange across the generations.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Le Mas Joyeux
© Le Mas Joyeux

In Marseille’s 10th arrondissement, a 700-sq.m community garden enables local people to come together, grow, prepare and share fresh produce. Le Mas Joyeux is a care home for children aged 3 to 18, and young people aged 18 to 21, run by the not-for-profit association AEJ and located near three retirement homes. Inspired by this ‘crossroads of the generations’ AEJ has opened Le Mas Joyeux’s garden to residents of the neighbouring properties (the Villa des Poètes, Résidence Marguerite and Aéria & Meissel), as a shared space for young and old alike.

In 2013, landscape gardener Sophie Barbaux and visual artist Colas Baillieul began work on the garden, using recycled materials to create an eco-friendly vegetable plot maintained by the children and their elderly neighbours. Open to the public for guided visits and workshops, the garden has become a vibrant meeting-place, and a focus for exchange and knowledge-sharing between the generations. The children have designed and created raised beds and growing tables, enabling the older gardeners to work in comfort.

The garden helps children at Le Mas Joyeux to rebuild their social skills in an atmosphere of respect and exchange, taking part in group activities, and learning about the environment and its changing seasons. The garden is a place for work and relaxation alike: the scheme’s participants come together regularly to sample their produce at delicious barbecues on-site. 

The programme is supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of its H³ programme (Head – Heart – Hand).

>> Find out more about the H³ programme

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