France is undoubtedly one of the most impressive countries in the world. With endless stunning sites, impeccable cuisine, and some of the most well-known landmarks, it is the country to visit! While most travelers choose France for its beautiful museums, gorgeous palaces, and romantic establishments, you should also see the French gardens.
There are hundreds of well-designed gardens here in France, so planning your way around them might be a bit difficult. However, we suggest you start with their top ones – the most beautiful, significant, and most visited. So, check out our list of suggestions!
It comes as no surprise that Versailles takes the top spot. As the cover for one of the most significant French establishments, Versailles’ gardens are regarded as the grandest and most impressive botany arrangements in the country.
Designed and built during the reight of King Louis XIV, this glorious estate represents the highest quality and most genius design France can offer. Spread across 800 hectares, the gardens still embody French abundance and wealth. Actually, it was the sole purpose of building this monumental estate!
Back in the 17th century, King Louis XIV thrived on flaunting the royal assets to everyone who listened, and Versailles stood as an example. That is why French wealth is still very evident to this day.
Stroll the gardens favorited by Queen Marie-Antoinette herself and discover the one-of-a-kind sculptures, magnificent fountains, perfectly-preserved orangery with flowerbeds, and symmetrical groves!
You should also take note that exploring Versailles gardens takes a lot of time with its endless patterns, different routes, and impeccable designs that will keep you for more than one glance. So, we suggest setting a whole afternoon aside to visit the entire estate, including the gardens. It might seem like a bit much, but time will fly by once you get lost in the beautiful French botany.
While Versailles gardens are easily the most majestic and impressive ones in France, take a short trip to Giverny for the most picturesque and charming greenery. By the way, you can easily navigate through these estates with the help of any kind of trains in France!
Constructed and designed by the famous French painter Claude Monet, the garden is considered one of the most moving and inspiring pieces of land in the country. When the painter and his family settled down in Giverny back in 1883, the estate looked quite different from what it is today.
After thoughtful consideration and planning, the Monet family planted orchids all over the garden and enclosed them with high stone walls. With time, however, it grew even more and now has two distinct parts with very specific designs.
The first part of the garden is called the Clos Normand, a colorful ground with symmetrical set-outs and flowerbeds. The Clos Normand is quite chaotic, but it all seems to work together! While the flowers are of different colorings, heights, and species, the various arrangements complement each other and embody a perfectly-imperfect oasis.
The second part of Giverny gardens takes after your traditional Japanese presentation with well-recognizable details. For example, Monet commissioned a local craftsman to build an authentic Japanese bridge over the Water Garden, which is also an additional part! The Water Garden is precisely what you might imagine – well-preserved greenery and gorgeous flowers flourishing on the water’s surface.
So, be prepared to be inspired and pleasantly surprised – only the Giverny gardens can give you that!
3. Rothschild Villa and Ephrussi Gardens
Quite a mouthful, right? Well, the gardens live up to their exotic name! Settled between Nice and Monaco, Rothschild Villa and Ephrussi Gardens are undoubtedly the most unfamiliar and unique greenery estates in France.
With a spice of Mediterranean designs and French elegance, Ephrussi Gardens are divided into nine sections, each with a different theme. So, guaranteed you will have a great time exploring and will not get bored in the least! Rothschild Villa and Ephrussi Gardens are genuinely one of the most beautiful places on the French Riviera and a great way to spend an afternoon.
Firstly, explore the French Garden – true to its heritage, it is very romantic and elegant. Decorated with water fountains and ponds, with the Temple of Love at the peak, the French Garden gives off this magical feel and fairytale-like aesthetic. Also, you will see some rare olive trees!
Next up are the Spanish and the Florentine Gardens. The former forms a covered patio with rare plants and Corinthian arcades on the sides. And, while the Florentine Garden is less perfumy and colorful, it pays remarkable homage to Italy. With its light shades and romantic shapes, Florentine Garden is probably the loveliest of them all!
You will also get to explore Rose, Japanese, and Exotic Gardens. The further you go into the estate, the more interesting it gets! See the rare plants, atypical arrangements, and the most beautiful French roses.
Finish your tour with the Stone Garden and, finally, the Provencal Garden. While the former is quite self-explanatory, the latter may raise some questions. All you should know before seeing it for yourself is that this is the wildest and the least-trimmed of them all!
4. Bambouseraie de Prafrance
By now, you have seen exotic, historical, lavish, and even fairytale-like gardens. Now it is time for you to visit the greenest of them all! Known for its wide variety of different plants and the most natural looks, Bambouseraie de Prafrance is the fourth on our list!
Spreading across 34 hectares, Bambouseraie de Prafrance, or Bambous de Provence, is the most well-known botanical garden specializing in bamboo trees. Which is a relatively rare sight for a country like France, right? Even more of a reason not to miss out on it!
Established in the middle of the 19th century by none other than an amateur botanist, the estate is famous for having the oldest bamboo tree collections in Europe. While the ownership of Bambouseraie de Prafrance changed many times over the years, it is quite lovely how well they managed to preserve its initial idea and purpose.
With many dramatic changes and growth spurts, the garden offers you more and more bamboo tree species and collections! Today, it contains more than 300 bamboo types and cultivars, so get ready for a thorough exploration!
An introduction to one of the most beautiful palaces in France, the Chenonceau Gardens are probably the most extraordinary on our list. Inviting you further into the Chateau de Chenonceau, the greenery is divided into several parts and takes a bit of time to explore.
First of all, you should know that the whole property is one of the best displays of the French Renaissance, so just by that, you can already guess the kind of beauty and designs that come with it! Chenonceau is split up into three main gardens and a maze, each better than the other!
For starters, we have the Garden of Diane de Poitiers. With an original fountain in the center, and eight triangles of lawn, decorated with the most beautiful flowerbeds and trees, this part might just be your favorite already! The intricate designs and preservation are looked over by the Chancery, which was the home of the Steward of Catherine de Medici!
Speaking of, let’s move on to the Gardens of Catherine de Medici herself! The Queen was very passionate about greenery, and with a vast knowledge of Italian architectural designs – her hard work is evident. With a beautiful basin and Levander lines, it is the perfect mix of French and Italian genius minds.
Lastly, discover the beauty and details of the Green Garden. It is all in the name, really! Designed at the beginning of the 19th century, the Green Garden remains the most natural-looking green space on the whole estate. With beautiful arrangements and rare plants, it is the perfect finish line for your journey.
Of course, do not forget the famous maze! If anything else, it serves as great entertainment.
Last but not least, let’s travel into the deep ends of Paris. Located in one of the better-known suburbs, Bagatelle is one of the four botanical gardens in the capital city and undoubtedly wins as having the funniest and most interesting origin story!
Actually, Bagatelle Castle and Gardens were built due to a simple bet between Queen Marie-Antoinette and her brother-in-law, the Count of Artois. Can you imagine that without some innocent family fun, Paris would be void of its most stunning botanical garden?
With some lovely 18th-century designs, Bagatelle Gardens offer you a precious space for a walk or a stroll. Sure, you can treat it as your usual touring site, but mostly just try to enjoy your surroundings! With beautiful fountains, benches, trees, and flower arrangements, the estate is like a breath of fresh air when you need to escape the crowds.
If you travel during the summer, you might just catch a classical music show. Something to consider, right?
Enjoy the French grace mixed with Japanese exoticism and Italian romance. However, check availability – not all of these are open all year long! Once you have all the information, book the tickets if needed, and explore the other side of France. Au revoir!
Published by HOLR Magazine.