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The gardens of Guinot – When the will of sharing is stronger than a quiet obedience

July 23, 2018


Imagine the concrete of pavements, the grey of cobblestones, the alignment of homes, one after each other. Then, after passing through a small alley, imagine a door whose blue colour is so stunning that your eyes are instantly attracted by it and you can see a window that opens into  a small corner of greenery.


Welcome to the gardens of Guinot


Before becoming a haven of peace as the members described it, the gardens of Guinot were an abandoned field. More than five years ago, a group of incorrigible neighbours decided to roll up their sleeves, clear this space and reorganize it to give it a second life.

At the root of this metamorphosis, there was a wish of sharing, of creating a bound between the inhabitants and to reconnect with the earth. An association “La bande à Guinot” manages this community space. For an annual membership of seven euros, the doors of the gardens become those you pass through each time you feel like reading on a deckchair, experimenting your rows of radishes, rosemary, squash or sage. This bucolic place is also a friendly surrounding for your teenagers to chat on a couch, unwind around a table football game, redo the world while their hands are in the soil with the knowledge of the elders and the appetite to learn of the youngest.

The basic condition to get in is simply to leave the doors open so that everyone from Saint-Ouen or outside the city, members of the association or not, can enjoy the gardens.


A leitmotiv : meeting and sharing


Values that become actions.

                              People who get involved.

Chilrdren’ laughes, birdsongs, glorified green.


From the spirit of the gardens, one idea constantly comes up in the various discussions I had with the members: encourage exchange and knowledge. Cultivate a garden becomes a way to reconnect with the rhythms of the seasons, to slow down our own notion of time and concentrate on the moment, to come back to the fundamentals in all simplicity. Cultivating a garden also becomes an excuse to cultivate the mind, to make and share between generations, to discover another point of view. We respond to the urge to experiment, whether it is to cultivate one’s own piece of land or to rethink together what a community can be. After all, try as a group and base the experience on the wealth of each member of the group to build a benevolent place day after day.


We leave the gardens having experienced a transformation ourselves. We feel more peaceful. The eyes are full of colour. The heart smiles at all the encounters made, at all the discussions shared, at the small seeds sown that will grow at the right time.

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