My photo postcard of the Jardin des Fontaines Pétrifiantes, La Sône, Isère (38), France

A surprising and mad garden paradise built on a bank of the river Isère, the garden is blessed with many dozens of springs which have formed travertine pools. The first view of the garden is from above, the path leads down to a number of garden rooms which are built around water features. The design is mad... there’s a dresser filled with plants, the seats and music stands for a band which have been overgrown by plants and a frame that has nothing inside, just a view of more garden. The “English garden” has a table laid for dinner set in a pond cruised by some satisfyingly large golden carp. Not to mention the deck chairs laid with turf.

The centre piece of one of the gardens is a major waterfall falling on to cascades and pools of travertine rock. The sound of water cascades, fountains and streams is everywhere, giving a peaceful atmosphere. The monotony of the sound of moving water is broken by a number of water clocks which count time by the principle of filling containers. Their regular but unsynchronised chimes attract our attention, holding it with the fascination of working out the very visual principles of operation.

The flowers are laid out by size and colour or on an aesthetic or whimsical basis: the Jardin des Fontaines Pétrifiantes is a fantasy garden, much of it is mad and it's absolutely not a botanical reference site.

We visited on a cloudy day so heat was not an issue, this place has mmde its own micro-climate and would be a refreshing visit in the summer heat.

Jardin des Fontaines Pétrifiantes, La Sône, Isère (38), France