Top 5 French gardens to visit

Top 5 French gardens to visit

France is home to many beautiful and spectacular gardens which have inspired artists, writers and musicians throughout the world over the centuries. Whether you love a French formal garden made popular by designer André Le Nôtre or a dazzling floral display, here are five French gardens you need to visit on your next holiday to France.

1. Monet Garden, Giverny

Located in the small village of Giverny in the region of Normandy in northern France is Monet’s former residence and gardens. Open every day, there are two parts of Monet’s garden to explore: Clos Normand, a stunning flower garden situated in front of the house and the famous Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road.

Visit Clos Normand during spring for dazzling colours and beautiful blooms of tulips, daffodils, peonies and cherry blossoms, whilst dahlias will delight visitors come autumn. 

In contrast, the water garden is home to a Japanese bridge crossing a large pond filled with water lilies, which feature in Monet’s famous paintings. Take a walk across the bridge which is perfectly framed by weeping willows, cherry trees, wisterias, maple trees and more, keeping with the oriental atmosphere of the garden design. Time your visit to the gardens in July and August to see the wonderful water lilies in flower. 

Visit Monet Gardens during our 11 day Normandy & Gems of the Seine river cruise
Monet Gardens Giverny

2. Botanical Garden of Tête d'Or Park, Lyon

Situated within the Tête d'Or Park in Lyon, this 8 hectare botanical garden is one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe. Take the time to admire the 15,000 species of plant, along with 6,500 square metres of greenhouses preserving 6,000 rare plant varieties from around the world.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the French gardens and greenhouses and admire the beautiful orchids and carnivorous plants, whilst the standout feature is the international rose garden, home to more than 30,000 roses from 350 different varieties.

Visit Lyon’s Botanical Gardens during our 9 day Enchanting Rhône river cruise.
Lyon Botanical Garden

3.  Château de Cormatin

Reconstructed between 1990 and 1993, the spectacular and well-manicured gardens of Château de Cormatin are a baroque style set against the magnificent 17th century mansion. Discover the avenue of lime trees, lose yourself in the maze and admire the colourful flowers, with water features and a moat adding to the natural labyrinth feel.

Visit the gardens of Château de Cormatin during our 12 day Spectacular South of France river cruise.
Chateau de Cormatin

4. The Gardens of Versailles

When you visit Louis XIV’s impressive Château of Versailles, take the time to enjoy the breathtaking gardens.

Designed by André Le Nôtre, the Versailles grounds include a formal French garden covering 800 hectares and one of the most magnificent gardens in France. See the Grand Canal, one of the major highlights where you can enjoy grand vistas, perfectly manicured lawns and the symmetry. Measuring 1,670 metres long and taking 11 years to complete from 1669 to 1679, the Grand Canal is without a doubt André Le Nôtre’s most famous work.

Stroll through the elaborate gardens featuring an impressive 372 statues, 55 water features, 600 fountains and 35km of canals. During April to October, you can also enjoy the Musical Fountain Shows where the fountains come alive and dance to the rhythm of the music.

Visit the Gardens of Versailles during a pre or post night stay in Paris before your river cruise on the 12 day Breathtaking Bordeaux itinerary.
Versailles Garden

5. Gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte

A visit to the magnificent 17th Century Chateaux Vaux-le-Vicomte in the Ile de France will lead you to the spectacular garden masterpiece. Designed by André le Nôtre, these gardens were the inspiration behind the Gardens of Versailles. Stretching over 3km, these gardens include 33 hectares of parkland, with woodland surrounding it. Featuring formal gardens, a Grand Canal, a maze and gravel walks lined with statues, you can easily spend a good half day here.

Visit the Gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte during our 11 day Normandy & Gems of the Seine river cruise

Vaux le Vicomte