Discover some of the most remarkable French gardens
If you're planning a visit to France, be sure to visit some of the country's most beautiful gardens. Words Claire Masset
The 'jardin remarquable’ badge is bestowed by the French Ministry of Culture to the country’s most outstanding gardens. Set up in 2004, it recognises gardens and parks across France that are of cultural, aesthetic, historical or botanical interest, from the grounds of grand chateaux to some spectacular private gardens. Here are some of the highlights.
Les Jardins remarquables: remarkable French gardens
Le Château de Marqueyssac
Famous for its magnificent terraces of box – there are over 150,000 individual plants – clipped in cloud-like shapes, Marqueyssac in the Dordogne is one of the most visited gardens in southwest France.
Location Les Jardins de Marqueyssac, 24220 Vezac, France.
Tel +33 (0)5 53 31 36 36,
Open February – March (and October – November), 10am-6pm; April – June (and September), 10am-7pm; July – August, 9am-8pm; November – January, 2-5pm.
Tickets April – November, €11.90 (November – March, €9.90).
Château de St-Jean de Beauregard
Well-known for its spring and autumn flower fairs, this chateau just south of Paris has a potager fleuri (floral potager) that is one of the most beautiful walled gardens you’re ever likely to encounter.
Location Rue du Château, 91940 Saint-Jean-de-Beauregard, France.
Tel +33 (0)1 60 12 00 01.
Open March – November, 2-6pm.
Le Château de Villandry
One of the grand chateaux of the Loire, its Renaissance terrace garden has been recreated with astounding geometric exactitude – nothing is out of place.
Location 3 Rue Principale, 37510 Villandry, France.
Tel +33 (0)2 47 50 02 09.
Open April – September, 9am-7pm (see website for other times).
Le Domaine du Rayol
Conceived by botanist and garden designer Gilles Clément, this stunning botanical garden overlooking the Mediterranean showcases flora from Mediterranean climates around the world, as well as from drier and sub-tropical regions.
Location Avenue Jacques Chirac, 83820 Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer, France.
Tel +33 (0)4 98 04 44 00.
Open April – October, 9.30am-6.30pm (July – August, 9.30am-7.30pm); November – March, 9.30am-5.30pm.
Les Jardins de Claude Monet à Giverny
The Impressionist artist lived in the Normandy village of Giverny for 43 years. His famous garden here, reflects his love of flowers and plants and his lifelong obsession with colour, pattern and light. If you want to see those famous waterlilies you'll need to visit in July or early August.
Location 84 Rue Claude Monet, 27620 Giverny, France.
Open April to November, 9.30am-5.30pm.
Les Jardins de l'Imaginaire
Inventive evocation of the history of gardens, culminating in a spectacular water garden.
Location Place de Genouillac, 24120 Terrasson-Lavilledieu, France.
Tel +33 (0)5 53 50 86 82.
Open May – June (and September – October), Wednesday – Monday, 10am-11.30 and 2-5.30pm; July – August, every day 10am-6pm.
Les Jardins de Kerdalo
An atmospheric blend of influences created by the Prince Peter Volkonsky in 1965. Rightly considered one of France’s best gardens.
Location Kerdalo, 22220 Trédarzec, France.
Tel +33 (0)7 65 16 06 75.
Open May – September, Tuesday – Saturday, 3pm-7pm.
Jardin du Mont des Récollets
Created by Emmanuel de Quillacq on the site of his grandparents' farm, this remarkable garden made up of 22 rooms, each with its own character, has been inspired by the local Flemish art.
Location 1936 Route de Steenvoorde, 59670 Cassel, France.
Tel +33 (0)6 07 84 77 50.
Open April – November, 10am-6pm.
Le Jardin Plume
This unique garden, near Rouen, the creation of Patrick and Sylvie Quibel, combines old French influences – potagers, symmetry and low hedging – with a New Perennial love of grasses and seedheads.
Location 790 Rue de la Plaine, 76116 Auzouville-sur-Ry, France.
Tel +33 (0)2 35 23 00 01.
Open May – October, Wednesday – Sunday, 2-6pm (also 10am-12pm, Tuesdays and Saturdays).
Le Parc du Bois des Moutiers
An Arts and Crafts house designed by Edwin Lutyens with planting by Gertrude Jekyll – a rare sight in France.
Location Route de l'Eglise, 76119 Varengeville-sur-Mer, France.
Tel +33 (0)2 35 85 10 02.
Open March – November, 10am-6pm.
Tickets May – September, €11 (€10 at other times).
Le Prieuré Notre Dame d’Orsan
A garden of intimate rooms, inspired by the art, spirit and romance of the medieval world.
Location Prieuré d'Orsan, 18170 Maisonnais, France.
Tel +33 (0)2 48 56 27 50.
Open April – October, 11am-6pm (weekends 10am-7pm). Closed Tuesday.
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