The most beautiful gardens in France

Versailles, photo by HarshLight

The French aristocracy of yore had a lot of money to spend, and Louis XIV or Marie Antoinette are only a few notable examples, but far from the only French rich nobles who had a lot of money to spend on eyecandy. And apart from their role in history, these nobles left a legacy that is still very much alive today: chateaus, palaces, galleries, summer homes, parks and gardens. French gardening is famous worldwide, and the so-called jardin à la française pride themselves on symmetry, harmony and order over nature. This style has spread around all the royal courts in Europe, but still the gardens in France are some of the best you can see anywhere. Here are some of the most beautiful gardens in France where you can spend the day strolling and imagining yourself in the shoes of a French nobleman or noblewoman.

Gardens of Versailles

The Gardens of Versailles are arguable the ones that launched the trend of the jardin à la française. The gardens occupy some 800 hectares, all manicured to perfection according to the designs of André Le Nôtre, a famous 17th century landscape architect. The flowers, the terraces, the plant sculptures are exquisite, but what makes the garden come alive are the countless fountains, and despite centuries of water supply problems, no one dared stop the fountains to this day.

The Gardens of Chenonceau Castle

Chenonceau Gardens, photo by Jow Shlabotnik

The Chateau of Chenonceau is a dazzling example of French castle architecture, and perhaps the most unique chateau in France, what with parts of it having been built on arches over the River Cher. The castle is over five thousand years old, and one of its most famous residents was Diane of Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II of France. The gardens of the castle were inspired by her and by Catherine de Médicis, another one of the castle’s famous residents. The floral compositions in the garden are stunning, and there are more species of roses than probably anywhere else in France.

The Gardens of Chateau de Villandry

The stunning Renaissance style Chateau de Villandry is one  of the most beautiful castles in the country, and as befitting such a magnificent structure, it also has some of the most beautiful gardens in France. The garden is organized in three tiers; the decorative kitchen garden has flowers and veggies in a fun checkered pattern, the ornamental garden has imaginative hedge boxes, and the water garden is a tranquil place with a beautiful pool.

The Gardens of Chateau de Breteuil

Eyrignac gardens, photo by Peter Curbishley

The French are particularly proud of the gardens of Chateau de Breteuil – it is listed by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the most remarkable gardens in the country. The 75 hectares are indeed unforgettable: French style gardens, English style parks and Italian style terraces, all filled with interesting plant species and decorations. The park is designed in such a way that it looks amazing in any season!

The Gardens of the Manor of Eyrignac

This manor in the Perigord Noir region has the riches, most creative topiaries in France, there is no question about it. The sheer variety of the plant sculpture, the beauty of the flower arrangements and the number of tree species make this garden truly special. The garden sprawls over 200 hectares, and each little corner of it is worth discovering.

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