Les plus beaux parcs et jardins de France
French gardens drawn a line, exotic parks, dense flowerbeds, topiary, tropical greenhouses … all tastes are in nature.
1. Park of Versailles (Yvelines)
For Louis XIV , gardens, he did draw by Le Nôtre , were as important as the castle. One hesitates to elect the most beautiful: the great perspective of the Water Parterre to the end of the Grand Canal, along 1670 m? Walkways, pools and gardens with 300 sculptures, often inspired from mythology? L’Orangerie which unfold over a thousand palm trees, oleanders, pomegranate and orange? Groves (green lounges with ponds) whose Ballroom , with tiers of rock and shells, Enceladus , Titan where a fight against death, Colonnade , peristyle decorated with children, pupae and nymphs ? Or intimate gardens of Marie Antoinette at the Petit Trianon?
Aware of the richness and complexity of gardens, Louis XIV wrote a guide: «way to show the gardens of Versailles»
2. Gardens Menton (Alpes-Maritimes)
With a microclimate of an exceptional softness and 316 days of sunshine a year, Menton has always facilitated the work of botanists, who have managed to acclimatise species tropical and subtropical . To help you realize, stroll through the aisles of Carnoles Palace , home to 140 varieties of citrus, in the beautiful gardens Maria Serena and Fontana Rosa , the Serre de la Madone garden or in the botanical garden of Val Rameh , located just minutes from downtown and the waterfront.
The Lemon Festival in Menton is in February ( www.feteducitron.com ) and Mediterranean garden Days in early September.
3. Bamboo Prafrance, Anduze (Gard)
Founded in 1856 by Eugène Mazel , ranked remarkable garden and historical monument, the bamboo has an impressive record: first European bamboo collection with more than 240 varieties , some of which reach 25 m in height, and exotic species from around the world, with redwood 40 m high. Places are evocative: Dragon valley, water garden, maze, Laotian village, rice field and greenhouse carnivorous plants … Final touch: art exhibitions in the open. An exceptional place to penetrate the plant magic and learn about poetry trees before the weeping beech tree or maidenhair.
The Bamboo (entrance fee) is open from March to November: www.bambouseraie.com . The shop sells plants, books and various objects.
4. Château de Villandry (Indre-et-Loire)
Last of the great Renaissance châteaux built in the Loire Valley, Villandry is complemented by beautiful gardens. Go up through the undergrowth, the viewpoint for contemplating high. Masterpiece Art topiary Renaissance, the ornamental garden extends salons. Four squares are symbolize love: tender, passionate, fickle and tragic. Below, the garden is planted with vegetables colored checkerboard, a monastic tradition. Garden simple as the Middle Ages, Renaissance hedge maze, water garden pond shaped Louis XV mirror and sun garden at eight-pointed star pool complete the walk.
It’s Joachim Carvallo, owner of the castle, in 1908, restored the Renaissance gardens. The crops are changed with the seasons ( www.chateauvillandry.fr ).
5. Domaine du Rayol (Var)
On the Corniche des Maures , 7 ha in the balcony on the sea concentrate a tour of the plant world in the Mediterranean Gardens . Orchestrated by Gilles Clément , the garden reveals the incredible biodiversity areas in Mediterranean climate. You walk among the tree ferns of New Zealand , cycads groves of Japan , the bamboo from China or yuccas the Canaries ; the walk is a journey . Amazed by the bird of paradise of South Africa , dumbfounded by the cactus called «mother-in pillow», frightened by the sprawling agaves and calmed under a giant eucalyptus, you then reach the Aleppo pine on the cliff.
Open daily, year round (entrance fee). Guided tours, gift shop, coffee; there is even a nursery ( www.domainedurayol.org ).
6. Gardens mansion Érignac (Dordogne)
Érignac is primarily the story of a family that is transmitted, for 22 generations, this castle from the Middle Ages rebuilt mansion inXVIIth century. It is then a history of gardens. In French, and among the most beautiful in France … On 10 ha, yews, boxwoods, hornbeams and cypress disclaim green in all its shades. The topiary came into the picture: plant sculptures, green rooms and beds line the walkways, around pools, dressed stone. The reconstruction of the gardensXVIIIth century is fascinating. Until the Italian touch that makes the specificity of the French gardens ….
The mansion Érignac offers cooking workshops (€ 220 / person, including meals) to be coupled with a tour of the gardens.
7. Jardins de la Fontaine, Nimes (Gard)
Haven of freshness and elegance, the Fountain gardens were one of the first public gardens of Europ e. Stairs, stone statues of Lens, basins and false peristyles bathed by the waters illustrate the harmony of classical French gardens under Louis XV . In their facilities, in 1745, an ancient sanctuary was updated, built around the source dedicated to the deity Némausus who presided over the creation of the city. When we climbed the Mount Cavalier , the garden takes on a wilder appearance. Dotted with caves, various roads that mark the lead up to the Tour Magne , the remains of Roman fortifications.
Free admission every day. More information on the Nimes city site ( www.nimes.fr ).
8. Jardin des Tuileries (Paris)
The Tuileries , built by Catherine de Medici , burned by the Commune then shaved, remain only the pavilions Marsan and Flore , integrated into the Louvre . Its park was remodeled in French by Le Nôtre , gardener of Louis XIV. He opened the big perspective, dotted with ponds and framed by two parallel terraces to the Seine. One has the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in NapoleonIst. Renovated in 1991, the Tuileries gardens (40 ha) is in the grand perspective Louvre, the Champs Elysees-defense . One hundred sculpturesXVIe atXXIth century (Maillol, Rodin, Dubuffet, Giuseppe Penone, Germaine Richier, etc.) also make a fabulous outdoor museum .
To visit the Tuileries: the Orangerie museum (Monet and Water Lilies, Renoir, Cezanne, Henri Rousseau, etc.) and the National Gallery Jeu de Paume (photography and new media).
9. Jardin Albert Kahn (Hauts-de-Seine)
Strolling in the Albert Kahn garden is a little shop around the world. Exquisite French, Japanese garden, populated blue forest of American and Moroccan species, English cottage … On one plot to another, you change the continent while remaining at Boulogne-Billancourt. Albert Kahn (1860- 1940), banker philanthropist, lovers of Japan and world traveler, there aménagea this fabulous park . It also financed photographic campaigns around the world. Evidenced by hundreds of silent films and thousands autochrome that can be admired today in a pavilion adjoining the gardens.
Info www.albert-kahn.fr . Fall is a good season to get there; Japanese garden and trees then parent purple.
10. Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire (Loir-et-Cher)
Every year in summer, the International Garden Festival transforms the field of Chaumont in an incubator of creative talent. Gardens curiosities or drunkenness, blurred mazes and magical forests, mirrors or theaters water hemp petals, braided plants new materials or simple square … Sculptors plant and other nature lovers domesticated wild imagination to make spring from earth landscaped gardens mosaic : a walk between art and nature, a wealth of ideas to grow to give color to his flower beds or balcony.
Three permanent experimental gardens, landscaped grounds, an interesting castle (XV e -XIX th century), stables and installations by contemporary artists complement the attraction of the visit ( www.domaine-chaumont.fr ).
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