Travel bucket list idea:
Gardens of the Loire Valley
Loire Valley, France|
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.
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+
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 including or relevant to this experience
Northern France’s beautiful UNESCO-listed valley, home to heart-stoppingly beautiful historic chateaux, authentic village life, world-class wines and fascinating troglodytes.