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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
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.



Chaumont International Garden Festival

Amboise, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Bucket List Experience
Modern art garden with rust coloured sculptured trees

Weird and wonderful experimental garden festival where conceptual gardens touch urbanism and ecology.

Adult price: £15

Best for ages 13+

Duration: 5 months

When: mid-May - October

Frequency: annually

Gardens of Chateau Bourdaisiere

Tours, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Exterior fo the beautiful chateau

A 16th-century chateau with captivating gardens, which includes 150 vegetables and a remarkable ‘conservatoire’ of almost 630 varieties of tomato.

Adult price: £6

Best for ages 13+

Gardens of Chateau Rivau

Lemere, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Two giant wellington boots statues in the chateau gardens

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

Adult price: £10

Best for ages 18+

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Gardens of Chateau Villandry

Villandry, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Bucket List Experience
Red flowers and green shrubs in square hedged patterns in front of chateau

One of the world’s most beautiful gardens, including a truly remarkable vegetable garden, in the grounds of a UNESCO-listed chateau.

Adult price: £6

Best for ages 18+

Maulevrier Oriental Park

Maulevrier, Pays de la Loire, France

Red bridge crossing pond in garden

This oriental treasure is the largest Japanese garden in Europe features rolling lawns, sculpted trees, shrines, and more than 300 species of plants.

Adult price: £5

Best for ages 18+

Terra Botanica

Angers, Pays de la Loire, France

Flowers and bushes shaped into a face at the entrance to the park

Europe’s first theme park devoted exclusively to plant life hosts 275,000 tropical trees and plants over 17 hectares, with plant-themed attractions and dazzling displays of horticulture.

Adult price: £17


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. 


Destination guides


Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Loire Valley

Loire Valley, France

Exterior of the front of the chateau, with a tree-lined driveway in foreground

Northern France’s beautiful UNESCO-listed valley, home to heart-stoppingly beautiful historic chateaux, authentic village life, world-class wines and fascinating troglodytes.