If you’re a lover of gorgeous gardens then you’ll be truly spoiled for choice in France. From the gardens of chateaux to public parks, private gardens open to the public and even an entire village awarded “Remarkable Garden” status, you’re sure to find a garden to fall in love with wherever you go.
Here are just a few of our favourites:
Monet’s Garden Giverny
The artist Claude Monet’s house and gardens are open to the public from April to October and entice around 500,000 people to the little town of Giverny in Normandy each year. Visitors flock to admire the pretty pink house where Monet lived until his death in December 1926. All fall in love with the magnificent gardens that everyone will recognise from his luminous paintings. Whatever month you visit during that time, the garden is an absolute feast for the eyes and the scent is dazzling. This garden is an exquisite patchwork of colour, almost like stepping into the heart of one Monet’s paintings. Go early in the morning or late afternoon in summer months to avoid the crowds.
The gardens of a Queen and a Mistress at the Chateau de Chenonceau
The Chateau of Chenonceau is famous for its floral displays. Every room is exquisitely decorated with scented, utterly stunning bouquets made by a master florist in the Chateau’s floral workshop.
It wasn’t until the renaissance days that flowers were grown simply to look good and to decorate the interior. Previous owners Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henry II and Catherine de Medici, wife of Henry II, both loved to have flower displays in the chateau. Records tell us that some of them were “monumental” taller than a man, flamboyant, colourful and showy.
Diane’s Garden, as it’s called, is on the right-hand side of the chateau. Catherine’s garden is on the left-hand side. Exquisitely maintained by head gardener Nicholas Tomlan, an American, and his team who grow 130,000 plants each year.
Mystical, magical Prieuré d’Orsan
One of the most beautiful gardens of France is to be found in the grounds of an ancient abbey in Berry Province, Loire Valley. At the Prieuré d’Orsan, the medieval monastic style layout are based on 12th century records. Every year the gardeners grow 2,500 saplings to make the gorgeous and inspirational wooden structures that are peppered throughout the gardens. Visitors can enjoy the gardens from April through September, and there’s a charming shop on site, full of covetable gardening paraphernalia.
Kew Gardens meets Chelsea Flower show at Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire
The equivalent of the Chelsea Flower Show in France is The International Garden Festival at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire.
Each year a series of conceptual gardens are created chosen from hundreds of submissions from designers from all around the world and put on show in the Chaumont Festival over a period of six months. More than twenty amazing gardens – the most innovative, original, beautiful and sensational designs are brought to life in this fabulous part of the Loire Valley.
There are also permanent gardens open year-round, set off by a stunning chateau in which art installations enhance the ancient décor.
Chedigny, Loire Valley – a village with garden status
Chedigny is a sleepy little village that gently resides in the heart of Touraine in the Loire Valley. You might miss it if you blink as you go through even though it is incredibly pretty and quintessentially French. However, every year the tiny town bursts into life and becomes one of the most popular places for rose lovers in the Loire thanks to the ravishing roses that fill its streets and gardens.
Chedigny is unique, the whole village is a classified “jardin remarquable” (remarkable garden). In May the roses bloom and on the last weekend of the month the village holds a 2-day ‘Festival des Roses’ that draws thousands to its streets to relish the fragrant fete with its workshops, artists and even to buy some of the beautiful rose bushes.
Next time you’re in the Loire Valley, drop in and smell the roses in this lovely village.
Details of the festival of roses in Chedigny: www.chedigny.fr
We’ve got loads of lovely villas with gorgeous gardens all over France – helping you make your holiday dreams come true.