Bernard de La Rochefoucauld (1922-2017)

Bernard de La Rochefoucauld, long-time IOS member with his wife Brigitte, founder of l’Arboretum des Grandes Bruyères, died July 18, 2017, shortly before his 95th birthday.

Entrepreneur, humanitarian and a man with a big heart

An engineer trained at l’Ecole Centrale, Bernard de La Rochefoucauld participated in the design of the Forum des Halles and Les 4 Temps Shopping Centre in La Défense. A man of immense intellectual curiosity, he was particularly interested in sociology, theology, and botany. After spending several years in the United States and  

Bernard de la Rochefoucauld with his Franklinia alatamaha (of which he was justifiably proud) at Arboretum des Grandes Bruyères, during the visit by the IOS as part of the Pre-Conference Tour prior to the 2012 Conference in Bordeaux. 
© Roderick Cameron

England, he returned to France enriched by the experience. Passionate about politics, he joined Ingrannes (Loiret) Municipal Council of in 1983, served as mayor from 1989 to 2002, and remained a councillor until 2008. He established l’Union Des Maires Ruraux in 1992, and in 1996, la Communauté de Communes des Loges, one of the first local authorities of its kind. His thirst for knowledge and his desire to reflect upon the ways of the world, led him in 1978 to found l’Institut La Boétie, the first independent Think Tank and a forerunner of l’Institut Montaigne. A committed philanthropist, he was instrumental in the creation of la Fondation des Parcs de France in 1982 and la Fondation du Patrimoine in 1998. The work of his life, his labor of love, was the Arboretum des Grandes Bruyères, which he and his wife Brigitte founded in 1972. On 14 hectares in Ingrannes the two of them created a unique place, where remarkable botanical collections – seven of which are classified as National Collections by the Conservatoire des Collections Végétales Spécialisées (CCVS) – are presented in an equally remarkable landscaped garden. A great lover of nature and biodiversity in all its forms, he practiced organic farming from the day the park was created. Aware of the great responsibility inherent in the important collections, so patiently gathered together, he wishes to ensure their perpetuity. Thus in 1983, he bequeathed the arboretum to la Fondation Arboretums de France. The Arboretum des Grandes Bruyères remains open to the public, as he wished.