A little gem, well-known among lovers of original spots in the city, the Rosa Mir garden amazes and delights visitors who venture there. In an inner courtyard, just off the Grande Rue de la Croix-Rousse, Jules Senis, a bricklayer by trade and refugee of the Spanish Civil War, created an extraordinary place, which he dedicated to his mother – Rosa Mir.
In a style that would have made French postman Ferdinand Cheval (creator of Le Palais Idéal) proud, in 1958 he began gathering shells and stones to transform an ordinary courtyard into an extraordinary garden, dotted with exuberant window boxes, stone frescoes and other wonders…
The Croix-Rousse still has plenty of surprises left to discover!
History of the garden
Approx. 400 m² garden, designed from 1957 to 1983 by Senis Mir, is made of stones and shells. He dedicated it to his mother Rosa Mir Mercader. Ranked in the inventory of historical monuments in 1987, it has the label "Heritage of the 20th century."
Jules Senis was born in Spain in Burjasot in the Valence region in 1913. After training in the rigorous trade-guilds school, he became a master mason, respecting a four-generation family tradition. Joining the republican side during the Spanish Civil war, he resolved to flee Francoism and took refuge in France in 1947. He arrived in Lyon in 1951 with his wife and two sons, and started a masonry and tiling business in Croix-Rousse. Diagnosed with throat cancer in 1952, he spent three years in hospital; following an unexpected recovery, he decided to carry out his dream of creating a garden. His determination to complete the project helped him to overcome the challenge.
Overview of the garden
The architectural structure is characterized by the places in Spain where Jules Senis had worked: the multicultural, republican Spain of the creator, the Alhambra of Grenada, the Basilica of Montserrat in Catalonia, the architect Gaudi, the " builder" of Barcelona, creator of Güell Park and the Sagrada Familia.
Owned by the city of Lyon, this unusual garden reopens after 5 years of renovation with the help of Frédéric Reynaud, landscape architect.Nearly 450 plants were planted in the upper basins and 4000 houseleek found place in the Saint-Jacques shells. Besides the 750 perennial, the walker discovers an impressive range of 5,000 plants imported from Mediterranean.