Gardens

Je suis né et ai été nourri jeune au jardin de France.

I was born and nourished young in the garden of France.

Rabelais (born 1494 near Chinon), Pantagruel, IX

Formal ornamental hedgingThe French name for the Loire Valley is The Garden of France. Wonderful, fresh vegetables, some of France’s finest gardens, thriving vineyards and horticulture, the capital of France for roses, they all benefit from the rich fertile valleys.

No wonder France’s finest landscape gardeners were used to design the châteaux grounds and nurtured a horticultural tradition.

Things Botanical and Contemporary

Terra Botanica is a huge Botanical Park opened in April 2010; 110,000m2 of gardens, water features and greenhouses, 40 botanical attractions featuring the 6 continents of the world, using the latest technology to demonstrate the wealth and variety of the natural world and how it survives, adjusts or responds to change.

A fascinating day’s outing, something to interest everyone and within easy reach from Les Mortiers.

Related link: Terra Botanica

Villandry

The most famous garden is Villandry. It feels spacious, even in high season, but like many of the gardens a visit at Easter or later in the season produces some wonderful surprises.

This ornamental chateau garden is famous. It is cleverly planted with colourful vegetables and combines the French love of formal Baroque gardens and their potagers.

The garden also has a maze, which children of all ages will enjoy!

Related link: Villandry

Time for a Festival

The International Garden Festival is held every year from May to mid October. It is a chance to learn about new plants, ideas and design. This themed horticultural competition, augments already impressive gardens. Avant-garde gardening its best, whacky, inspirational and great fun.

Non-gardeners will enjoy the fun, the chateau, the stables and the Mediterranean style lunch.

Related link: Chaumont

Going Oriental

The Parc Oriental de Maulévrier is the largest Japanese garden in France. A wonderful visit for photographers and gardeners with about 300 plant species. The large lake is interspersed with ornate bridges and footpaths and the acers and yews surrounding it provide appreciated shade and colour. It is stunning in Autumn.

There is also a small play area for the children, an exhibition of bonsai and ceramics, plus a Japanese Tea house for refreshments.

Related link: Maulévrier

Little gems

There are some gardens which combine well with other visits such as a visit to the Zoo, a wine tasting or shopping.

Here are few favourites

Les Chemins de la Rose, Doué Le Fontaine

— and a visit to the Zoo

Wonderful rose gardens with a huge variety of roses, perfumes and colours to enjoy. A good place for a romantic ramble. Doué La Fontaine is France’s capital for the culture of roses. A mix of suitable climate, fertile soil and enthusiastic amateurs, made Anjou the premier place for cultivation of roses. Don’t go home without buying a new rose for your garden, bare rooted roses sold in October are a bargain!

Related links: Les Chemins de la Rose, Zoo

La Chatonnière

— with visit to Azay Le Rideau and its fine chateau

One of the prettiest gardens in the area, hidden in a quiet valley with gardens nestling around the pretty chateau. The surrounding hillsides are alive with poppies and wild flowers in the Spring. There are roses in summer, a medicinal herb garden and an ornamental flower garden. Don’t miss the rose walk, interspersed with clematis. Outdoor concerts also held in the gardens.

Related links: La Chatonnière, Azay-le-Rideau

Angers Botanical Garden

— combine with the château and shopping

4 hectares of an 'English Garden' style garden dating from 1901. The footpaths, waterfalls, ornamental ponds and statues give it a romantic atmosphere and make it a wonderful respite after a tour around Angers, with its chic shops and restaurants.

Related link: Botanical Garden

Parc de Lathan in Breil

— and a cycle ride and visit to Lac Pincemaille

The gardens of the Chateau du Lathan are only a short distance away. There are 133 acres of grounds and its magnificent underground tunnels, 110 metres in all, are only ones like it in Europe. It is perfect for cycle ride or combined with a visit or picnic at Lac Pincemaille, where there is a Nature Reserve and bird hide. The Chateau du Lathan is the venue for the Annual Fete de Chasse every August 15th. A very colourful event which ends with an evening of fireworks.

Related link: Parc de Lathan

Château de Valmer Park and Gardens

— and a Vouvray wine tasting

There is an amazing garden conservatory with a wonderful selection of edible and medicinal plants from the past. There is advice about growing techniques, pruning and raising stock too. The blog is in French, but it is easy to see what a special place this is.

This garden is so close to some excellent producers of Vouvray which should not be missed. We have several recommendations for Vouvray wines.

Related link: Jardins de Valmer

Had enough of gardens?

Then go underground and look at some mushrooms!

The mushroom caves of Saumur are where the tuffeau stone was cut for building the châteaux of the Loire Valley. 1,100 miles of caves and galleries weave their way underground, making it the perfect place for mushroom growing along with a helping hand from another widely available product. Saumur is the base for the famous cavalry school of the Cadre Noir and and a reknowned venue for equestrian events and – horse manure!

The variety of mushrooms is amazing!

Related link: Saumur mushroom caves

And still too much?

Just sit in our Rose Allée and watch the world go by slowly.

Or see the seasons at Les Mortiers now on our Frenchholiday fan page on Facebook.