© Rudy Bueno
Guerlain has become a patron of the Vallée de la Millière, a biodiversity reserve created by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, continuing the Maison’s longstanding commitment to restoring ecosystems and heightening public awareness around sustainable development issues. Centered on ecology and education, this latest initiative resonates with the 15th anniversary of Guerlain’s engagement “In the Name of Beauty”.
Acquired by Yann Arthus-Bertrand in 2020, the Vallée de la Millière is rich in history for Guerlain, since it belonged for many years to the founding family. Today, the photographer, director and environmentalist chairs an association overseeing a series of projects at this exceptional site, which has been officially designated a “Natural Zone of Interest for Ecology, Flora and Fauna”. Conceived around the objective of “rewilding”, the project has already identified over 350 different animal and vegetal species in the area, which borders the well-known Rambouillet Forest. Through partnerships with the Université de Paris-Saclay and the Parc Naturel de la Haute Vallée de Chevreuse, the Vallée de la Millière will welcome researchers studying ways to mitigate human impact on ecosystems.
“I’ve accomplished one of my most cherished dreams by acquiring this extraordinary 30-hectare site – which I have visited since my childhood – and rewilding it as nature intended. We’ll have a chance to observe what happens when Mother Nature takes back control without any human intervention. There’s clearly a utopian aspect here, but it’s also tremendously exciting. Insects, foxes, badgers and larger mammals will all reclaim their rightful place in this unique habitat. I would love to one day walk in the forest without animals being afraid of me. My dream is for them to regain the inherent trust they have for humankind,” says Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
The project includes the ambitious “Le Jardin des Partages” (“Garden of Sharing”), a 1.4-hectare area adjacent to the nature reserve that will be home to an educational communal garden designed according to agroforestry and permaculture principles. With input from Guerlain Master Perfumer Thierry Wasser, the area will trial sustainable growth techniques to study the feasibility of introducing them on a larger scale with Guerlain suppliers, thus contributing to the goals of LVMH’s LIFE 360 program.
Echoing Guerlain’s values of sharing and passing on savoir-faire, the Vallée de la Millière will thrive as it becomes a haven of biodiversity. The reserve will open to the public in 2023, welcoming small groups to promote awareness and let people learn more about the critical importance of biodiversity. By bridging the gap between humans and nature, Guerlain and the Vallée de la Millière seek to convey a message of hope and encourage other rewilding initiatives across France.