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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Anna Brooke

Maine-et-Loire, usually referred to as Anjou, is often dubbed the ‘Garden of France’ – with a temperate climate and fertile soils. It’s France’s leading producer of everything from apples and hydrangeas to bedding plants and bulbs. Orchards, fields of vegetables and vineyards carpet the rolling countryside.

It also has a long tradition of fabulous decorative gardens, ranging from the classic gardens of historic chateaux and manor houses, laid out in ornate geometrical patterns, to rare plant collections, rose gardens, Oriental gardens, and even Europe’s first plant theme park.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Fabulous gardens are spread all over the Loire – just turn up and enjoy. A few, such as Terra Botanica, can be reached by public transport, but most are only accessible by car or bike.  

Guest and Garden-Hote et Jardin is an association of chambres d’hotes (B&Bs) and self-catering cottages around the Loire Valley, all set in beautiful gardens, many in historic buildings. For mroe gardens see the gardens section on the tourism website.



When to do it

In summer, most gardens open daily. Hours are more limited in spring and autumn, and most close in winter (December-February). 

April to October is best to make the most of long days and flowers in bloom. 


Two giant wellington boots statues in the chateau gardens

Gardens of Chateau Rivau

Lemere, Centre-Val de Loire, France

A fairytale castle of medieval architecture straight from a storybook, with 14 superb, sculpture-strewn gardens and its own wine.

Best for ages: 18+ | £10

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Chateau de Beauvois

Saint-Etienne-de-Chigny, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Stately chateau hotel in a magical woodland setting where Louis XIII once came hunting.

Official star rating:

Domaine de la Tortiniere

Veigne, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Relaxed, stylish family-run chateau hotel, well located in the heart of the Loire Valley.

Official star rating:

La Demeure de La Vignole

Turquant, Pays de la Loire, France

This quirky, rustic-chic hotel in a troglodyte hamlet has a cave pool and makes a good base for sightseeing.

Official star rating:

La Marine de la Loire

Montsoreau, Pays de la Loire, France

Gorgeous designer boutique hotel and spa, located in a tranquil village right by the River Loire.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience