The Visitor Intelligence webinar organised by VISTA AR in March gave us the opportunity to make some great discoveries.

Last month, we met (virtually) Madame Marie-Françoise Mathiot-Mathon, owner and manager of the gardens and the château (B&B) of La Ballue in Brittany, a magnificent property halfway between St Malo and Mont St Michel.

The 17th century gardens, redesigned in the 2000s in a style combining modernity (geometries) and tradition (baroque type), have received several awards1. They welcome an average of 7,000 visitors per year, notably on the occasion of the various events organised there, such as live shows, temporary exhibitions and botanical activities.

The programme of cultural activities and events for 2021 is available on the gardens’ website.

The Louis 13th style castle built by Gilles de Ruellan in the middle of the 17th century, which today houses five large guest rooms, a tea room and a shop, has been protected as a historical monument since 1999, along with its gardens.

Visitors from all over the world come to enjoy the calm and authenticity of the place; the British, lovers of flowers, tea and cosy chic being the first on the guest list.
The owner of the site is seeking to extend this openness to the world by adapting this historic space to current needs, without damaging the original charm of La Ballue. How to improve the experience of her visitors with modern technologies and what is the most appropriate solution for this site? This issue was the starting point of our discussion and raised several other questions :
. the technical means to collect visitors’ opinions in an almost automatic way, without having to ask them to fill in the guestbook before they leave ;
. how to distinguish between comments relating to the B&B and those relating to the garden which, although part of a whole, each have their own identity, can be visited separately and therefore have separate websites and accounts on independent online platforms;
. what procedure should be used when the solution requires wifi?
. what kind of interactive devices would best fit the garden visually and in terms of interpretation?

In order to assist us in our research and to respond to this pursuit of improving the visitor experience, the La Ballue site has undertaken a collaboration with VISTA AR. The first step is the study of the BMI Workbook2 and the analysis of the site’s business model.

We are looking forward to sharing the developments with you.

*People who did not have the time to sign the guestbook after their visit to the gardens can now leave their comments on the Review Capture Form:

For more information on La Ballue :

. Le Château de La Ballue (B&B) :
. La Ballue côté jardins (garden) :
. Media gallery-videos:

Château de La Ballue
35560 Bazouges-la-Pérouse
Phone: +33 (0)2 99 97 47 86


1 Awards for the garden and château de la Ballue:
. Labels « Jardin Remarquable » et Label « Qualité tourisme » (assesses the quality of the tourism offer and the overall visitor experience)
. Protection « monuments historique » (Historical monument protection)
.  2nd European prize (European Garden Award) en 2018

2Workbook BMI (Business Model Innovation): Practical guidance with business model innovation methodology