Calouste Gulbenkian

Business man

© Sandrine Boyer Engel
© 1616 Prod
© Caroline Rose
© Caroline Rose

A garden "in his own way"

The “Domaine des Enclos”, situated close to Deauville, is an exceptional 33-ha park, acquired in 1937 by Calouste Gulbenkian (1869-1955), business man and aesthete at the same time, one of the greatest art collectors of the 20th century. He was Armenian, born in Turkey, with British nationality, and he lived in France. He made a fortune obtaining 5% of the sale of the oil extracted from the Arabian Peninsula. Deauville owns and has been sharing one of the works of art he got involved the most: a garden « in his own way ».

During his trip to Spain in 1928, Calouste Gulbenkian was fascinated by the visit of the Retiro gardens situated close to Malaga. At the end of this visit, he wrote in his personal diary: "Man of science and dreamer, they are two great objectives of my life I couldn’t achieve”. ctifs de ma vie que je n’ai pu atteindre ».
Anyway, nine years later, during one of his trips to Deauville, he acquired the Domaine des Enclos, situated in the municipality of Bénerville, bordering Deauville. And he turned this park into the garden he was dreaming about.

Calouste Gulbenkian passed away in 1955, when he was 86. The Enclos Park started to be managed by the Gulbenkian Foundation, which decided to donate it to the City of Deauville in July 1973. From this year on, three gardeners of the City of Deauville have been dedicating to the maintenance of the garden throughout the year.

The park is divided into several areas: a pine forest in the upper section, a rose garden, an apple garden, a large meadow that slopes gently, with panoramas and vanishing lines toward the sea, birdcages, a farm and a house. The park gathers rare essences: black walnut, American ash, large-leaved lime tree, sequoia, Himalaya cedar, European ash, Siberian elm …The area including the Pays d’Auge undulation and the sea views has just been submitted to ranking by the Culture Minister (Drac de Basse-Normandie).

Twenty years ago, the City of Deauville decided to plant every year as many apple trees as children born in Deauville. Each planted tree receives the name of the children concerned. On May 1st, the Park is open to the public and visitors are welcomed with a sprig of lily of the valley.

Seventy years after its creation, Le parc des Enclos remains a magic place, an unknown cheerful aspect of a secret Deauville. But above all, the park has preserved the charm and beauty that his creator had given to it in ancient times, with a rare sensitivity.


The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is a private Portuguese institution, created in 1956 by testamentary will of his founder, a financial manager of Armenian origin and British nationality, died in 1955 in Lisbon, his residence place since 1942.

Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, pioneer of the oil industry, was also a great art collector. The Gulbenkian Museum, inaugurated in 1969 in Lisbon, currently hosts all his collection: Egyptian antiquities, Islamic works of art, Western and Eastern works of art, from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, French furniture of the XVII and XVIII centuries, creations of René Lalique.

The Foundation conducts various activities in the field of art, education, health and science. The  CAM (Centre d’Art moderne) hosts the greatest collection of Portuguese art of the 20th century. 

The Foundation also has two artistic entities: the Orchestre Gulbenkian and the choir, regularly performing in Portugal and abroad. The Foundation also organizes cycles of international lectures and symposia. Then, it has a laboratory of scientific research and allocates every year research scholarships.

The Calouste Gulbenkian cultural centre continues the activities of the Foundation in Paris, mainly focusing on Portugal and Europe. Through a diverse program, the Centre aims at participating to the great European debates, contributing to the challenges of the contemporary society and spreading knowledge about the Portuguese culture in France.

The library of the Centre hosts the greatest document centre in Europe about Portugal and the Portuguese-speaking world, including about 100,000 works, written in French or in Portuguese.