France is not famed as much as Italy regarding the elegant gardens that spread so vigorously. Historic and romantic France will enchant you from Loire valley through Paris towards Provence. Searching for blooms in France will take you back in time through rooling hills and ancient magic. That „je ne sais quoi“ feeling is not present only in Paris. I collaborated with around dozen travel bloggers to take you to this fairy-tale journey.
Monet’s Garden in Giverny contributed by Gabi from Under Flowery Sky
This is probably the most famous gardens in France, it’s an easy day trip from Paris. Located in the village of Giverny near Vernon Monet’s Garden is a picture-perfect testimony of impressionism. The famous painter Claude Monet realised his most popular image Impression, Sunrise in 1874.
The Garden is divided into two parts, one belonging to the house and the other is a Japanese water garden on the other side of the road. The famous water lilies will take you into one of his paintings which appear in the middle of April. Their full blooms is during the summer in July and August.
This colourful rhapsody is filled with tulips, irises, lavender, hyacinth, rhododendrons, poppies and many other flowers. Water lilies and the famous Japanese bridge were inspired by the prints that Monet collected.
Water garden will enchant you with whisterias, willows and the picturesque ambience.
The Gardens are usually open from March till October, this year re-opening May 17th. Monet’s house is full of details, specially kitchen that is painted in yellow.
The Monet’s Garden is easily reachable by train Paris- Vernon but tickes should be bought much in advance. From Vernon the touristic train drives to Giverny and costs 8 euros.
Jardin de Albert Kahn near Paris contributed by Lena Drevermann from Salut from Paris
The banker and philanthrope Albert Kahn was a strong supporter of the utopia of universal peace and created his garden to reflect this belief. He combined different garden styles and different landscapes to a beautiful and surprising oasis.
When visiting the Gardens of Albert Kahn, you’ll find yourself walking through a Japanese village followed by a Japanese garden, including a red Guzei bridge and a stream filled with Koi’s. A few steps further you’ll enter a French orchard full of apple and pear trees and an English rose garden. While this is broad range is already quite extraordinary, the last section of the Albert Kahn Garden is surprisingly a real forest. It is composed of several elements, amongst others a forest representing the French region Vosges, but also a section based on the colours of aquatic marchlands with cedars and blue spruces.
The Garden of Albert Kahn is a real hidden gem that only a few Paris visitors know about. It’s tucked away in Boulogne-Billancourt, just a short Metro ride from the centre of Paris and well worth the trip during the spring time in Paris.
Jardin du Versailles contributed by Dzangir Kolar from Dr Jam Travels
Jardins du château de Versailles are 800 ha of garden with 200.000 trees in suburbs of Paris under UNSECO protection. You can arrive here by train from the city center. This garden is part of the palace where the kings of France had their residence. Most notable was Sun King – Louis XIV that expanded the palace and ordered the formation of the garden in the second part of the 17th century. The Garden was set by design from landscape architect André Le Nôtre. Later it was a model for many other European rulers when they built their gardens (ie Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna, Potsdam near Berlin, Germany). Here one can enjoy numerous beautiful features. Among them is Grand channel 1,5 km long, Orangery (citrus trees that were in pots so they could be protected during winter), 50 fountains (Four seasons, Fight of animals, Dragon, Neptun, Latona’s, Appolo’s, …), Parterres (North, South, Water, Latona’s), groves (Domes, Enceladus, Obelisk, Star), many bosquets and paths. If you are in Paris take half of the day to visit these enormous and beautiful places.
Jardin des Plants in Paris contributed by Ophelie Schaffar from Limitless Secrets
Jardin des Plantes is one of the best gardens in Paris and in France. This botanical garden was created in 1626 to study plants and flowers, and also welcome the public. It’s actually the main botanical garden in France. Inside of its 28 hectares you will find many smaller gardens, a beautiful rose garden and even a small zoo. On site there are also four museums (or galleries): the Gallery of Evolution, the Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology, the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy, and the Gallery of Botany. Besides that, the garden features some special trees named “arbres remarquables” coming from all over the world. It’s nice to visit it all year long but in spring, some of the most beautiful cherry trees in Paris are blooming here!
You will find the Jardin des Plantes in the 5th arrondissement in Paris. You can go there easily via public transport with the metro. Stop at the stations Quai de la Rapée on line 5), Jussieu on line 7 and 10, Place Monge on line 7 or Gare d’Austerlitz on line 5 and line 10.
Jardin du Luxembourg contributed by Emma Jane Caldwell from Emma Jane Explores
The Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris is a beautiful French garden complete with tree lined pathways and carved sculptures. Not only is it one of the best gardens in France to visit, but it is also a fantastic free activity to undertake in Paris.
The Jardin du Luxembourg form the backdrop for the impressive Luxembourg Palace commissioned by Marie de Medici, wife of Henry IV and regent of Louis XIII in 1611. One of the most delightful things to do in the Jardin du Luxembourg is to watch children sail little coloured wooden boats on the man-made pond. These quaint little boats hearken to a time of old and are beautifully crafted, looking beautiful on the water. The gardens are walking distance from other fantastic Parisian attractions such as the Pantheon. They are accessible from Luxembourg or Odeon metro stations. They are most beautiful in spring when the flowers are blooming, or in autumn when the leaves start to change colour.
Tuileries Garden contributed by Elisa from World in Paris
The Tuileries Garden is one of the best gardens to visit in Paris. It is located in the 1 st district of Paris, next to the Louvre Museum, with metro line 1 (Tuileries and Concordo stations) stopping right in front of the two main entrances.
The Tuileries Garden is the oldest public garden in Paris. Queen Marie de Médicis commissioned it in the 16th century to decorate the surroundings of her new-built Tuileries Palace. Today, the Tuileries Garden is one of the locals’ favorite places for a stroll and the perfect place for a break after a busy morning visiting the Louvre Museum.
In addition to a wide variety of trees, plants, and beautiful parterres decorated with seasonal flowers, the Tuileries Gardens have two café-terraces, a traditional carousel, and two interesting museums, the Orangerie and the Jeu de Paume. On the garden’s eastern edge, the circular pond is invaded by a fleet of wooden ships piloted by kids.
Fontainebleau Château Gardens contributed by Kenny Chow from Knycx Journeying
Fontainebleau is a popular getaway destination among the locals and a perfect day trip for travelers because of its locations, natural forest, and historic value. The town is only a 45-minute train ride away from Central Paris; if not, rent a car so you can explore the area at your own pace.
The Château de Fontainebleau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a hidden gem in Paris backyard. This is a must-see location as it was extravagantly decorated through centuries, served as the imperial residences of a number of French Kings from Louis VII to Napoleon III. It was considered one of their favorites because of the historic forest and beautifully crafted Italian Renaissance garden outside the palace.
The garden is open to the public for free all year round. The English Garden (the Pine Garden) was built during the reign of Francois I, consisting a number of small gardens, and redesigned before the remodeling by Hurtault under Napoleon I – the garden features beautiful landscaping, ornamental rocks, exotic trees, and winding pathways. To the end of the garden, the Grand Parterre is the largest French-style formal garden in Europe with 45,000 flowering plants, and a 1200 meters long canal which prolongs the perspective of the view.
Garden of Diane, Château Chenonceau contrubuted by Monique from Trip Anthropologist
In the 16th Century, the King of France (who was married to Catherine de Medici) gave his mistress a castle. Château Chenonceau is in the heart of the Loire Valley, outside the village of Chenonceau and was gifted to Diane de Poitiers.
Diane extensively built and renovated the château and added a large garden, known today as the Garden of Diane. It was designed in the French style of the day and is laid out in a formal style. It lies beside the River Cher, as Diane built a long gallery extending from the château across the river.
The garden of Diane covers nearly 3 acres and includes a floating parterre. The terraces that surround the garden are lined with climbing roses.
At the very center of the garden is an ornamental fountain. Planted around this central feature are hundreds of rose bushes. Paths radiate out from the central feature, marking out eight triangles of grass that provide the main sense of symmetry and formality. This formal structure is further marked by the plantings along either side of the pathways. Yew, box, spindle, and laurustinus bushes are punctuated by hundreds of hibiscus.
Château Chenonceau is a simple daytrip by train or car from Paris and lies in the heart of the UNESCO Château area of the central Loire.
Chateau of Villandry contributed by Michele from Intentional Traveler
Chateau of Villandry in the Loire Valley, just three hours from Paris, is the last of the great chateaux built during the Renaissance. At one point, the property became home to Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother. But what really shines about Villandry is its exceptional gardens.
These famous gardens have become one of my favorite places in the world. Each time I return, the gardens seem even more expansive than I remembered. With peaceful pathways through the woods, a labyrinth, a large pond with swans swimming, a playground, and multiple landscaped gardens, it’s easy to spend a couple hours here.
From ornamental flowers to vegetables, the gardens are laid out in formal patterns with low box hedges. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and Monument Historique, Chateau Villandry gardens are a must visit for visitors who love gardens.
Chaumont sur Loire contributed by Christina Román from Explore now or never
The fairytale castle of Chaumont-sur-Loire in the Loire Valley is famous for its annual international fall garden festival. While the gardens here are beautiful any time of the year, the international garden festival takes place between April and November annually and you won’t want to miss it! The permanent gardens are open all year round, however, and are also worth a visit when combined with a tour of the beautiful castle.
During the festival, garden designers the world over compete to design one of the 30 featured themed gardens on the 80 acres of grounds here, with unique installations that combine gardens and art. You’ll wander down a path into unique garden “rooms”. In summer, candelight illuminates the garden at night for a particularly magical experience.
Chaumont-sur-Loire is located in a town of the same name along the Loire River, not far from Tours. Known for its historic walls and perch high above the river, you’ll see its towers peaking out of the forest as you wind your way up a hill behind the town.
While you’re in the area, be sure to visit the nearby French formal garden (and the cutting garden used for stunning flower arrangements) at more famous Chateau de Chenonceau. Chateau du Valencay is also not far and offers a modern take on a meadow garden along with its formal French gardens.
Jardin Botanique in Bordeaux contributed by Shireen from The Happy Days Travels
Bordeaux is a UNESCO world heritage city and, as you can imagine, is a beautiful place to visit in France. Jardin Botanique is a must on your trip to Bordeaux. The garden is home to over 3000 plants and has walkways with ponds among the garden’s 6 spaces. It’s free entry and open all year round. The garden is easy to get to, just a 5 minute walk from Pont de Pierre bridge and has several tram stops around the area.As well as the botanical side of the park, there’s plenty of area for a cliché French picnic. I went to the local market called Marches des Capucins for the essential picnic supplies with my local friends where we met some of their friends. Everyone brought some food/wine/beer and we shared before playing the popular French game of Boules. We stayed until the sun went down and it was a lovely sunset over the River Garonne and just a short walk you can look right opposite the garden and see the Place de la Bourse landmark and reflecting pool (best seen lit up at night from across the river).
Senanque Abbey Lavender Garden, Provence contributed by Nadine Maffre from Le Long Weekend
Located in the heart of Provence’s Luberon Valley, the Senanque Abbey is an important historical and religious site in France. Dating back to the 11th century, the Cistercian Abbey was established by monks from nearby Ardeche. These days, it’s still inhabited by monks who lovingly tend to the abbey’s gardens. The most impressive feature of these gardens is the extensive lavender fields, which are grown and harvested, and later turned into products that visitors can purchase at the onsite gift store. The gardens are among the best places to see lavender in the Luberon, and they frame the abbey beautifully. The site is just a short drive from Gordes, one of the most beautiful villages in the Luberon, and just under an hour’s drive from Avignon – the closest major train station. Tours are offered at the abbey, but unfortunately, the guided option is only available in French. Instead, grab a histopad and take a walk around the abbey to discover what it would have looked like in the summer of 1230.
Jardins de Marqueyssac in Dordogne
Unfortunately, I didn’t get this contribution, not even after the second reminder. It would be such a pity not to include it in this collection of travel ideas so I wrote few words.
Enchanting gardens from the 17th century are located in Vézac. Picturesque gardens are stunning artwork encircled by the castle with the view of Dordogne departement and Dordogne river itself. The most visited garden in Perigord area spread up within more than 6 km of walk between more than 150 000 pruned box trees, waterfalls and labyrinth of gorgeous swirl green designs.
Restaurant is included onsite. Castle Castelnaud and Castle Beynac surround the fascinating gardens. Announced as the Notable Gardens of France by the French Ministry of Culture this is a true hidden gem.
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