Gardens of Provence
With Beyond's Gardens of Provence we are providing a list of the fabulous botanical and aromatic gardens in Provence and the South of France. The list isn't complete, of course, but we're adding to it as we discover new places.
Please use the "price" and "hours" details as a guide only.
Anduze - Gard (30140)
The Bambouseraie is much more than a garden. Called a Jardin botanique, or Parc exotique, it's also more than that. Here you'll find walkways through towering bamboo jungles filtering the sunlight to a cool yellow-green tint.
Some of the bamboo is amazingly high, but there are also sequoias (coast redwoods) towering even higher, along the main walkway. Part of the park includes a Laotien village, with characteristic bamboo houses on stilts, and even some fat old Laotien pigs.
The Cevennes steam railway has a stop at the Bambouseraie, with the tracks crossing over the top of the park on an old stone viaduct, mostly hidden by the tall bamboo.
A walking tour of the park is supposed to take 1h30, but we took considerbly longer. There's also a bamboo forest, a plant maze and Victorian greenhouses. A large stone villa in the center of the park has plaques on the wall marking the heights of the floods of 1958 and 2002; the earlier mark is about 3 m up the wall.
Nursery. A large sales area near the exit has an extensive range of plants for sale, not all of them bamboo. This area is accessable without the entrance payment.
- Location: Bamousseraie de Prafrance, 30140 Générargues. 3 km from Anduze: cross the river (east), turn left on the D129.
- Open: (every day) 1-20 March 9h30-18h; 21 Mar - 30 Sept 9h30-19h, 1 Oct - 1 Nov 9h30-18h; 2 - 15 Nov 9h30-17h.
- Closed: 16 Nov - 28 Feb
- Entry: (2012) Adults €8.60; under 12 €5.10
- Tel: 0466 617 047; Fax: 0466 619 494
- Email: email@example.com
- Web: www.bambouseraie.fr
Antibes - Alpes-Maritimes (06600)
INRA Botanical Garden - Jardin Botanique de la Villa Thuret
- The botanical garden of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique is a 3.5 hectare park open to the public.
- Location: Cap d'Antibes; 41 boulevard du Cap
- Open: Mon-Fri, 8h00-18h00 summer; 8h30-17h30 winter
- Closed: Holidays, weekends
- Entry: Free for individuals; charge for groups
- Tel: 0493 678 866; Fax: j0493 678 888
- Web: jardin-thuret.antibes.inra.fr/
Eze - Alpes-Maritimes (06360)
Fort Revère Botanical Area
- A large area on along the ridge is layed out as a botanical area, with Mediterranean plants presented with informative panels. It's a lovely walk through the area even if you aren't particularly interested in the plants. From end Aug to beginning Nov, migratory-bird-watching facilities are provided here for the public.
- Location: on the mountain ridge above the Col de Eze, with a fabulous view of the Mediterranean coast.
- Entry: Free
Figanières - Var (83830)
Garden of Scents - Jardin des Senteurs
The Jardin des Senteurs is a lovely and restful walled garden at the top of Figanières village, just beside the St-Michel church. You can find the Jardin by walking up into the old village and following the signs. The entrance is through a gate on the Place de Lirette, into a beautiful botanical garden with flagstone terraces, aromatic plants, flowers, shrubs, trees, lawns and ironwork. There's evan a tiny shrub maze back beside the walls of the church.
An Atelier de Santonnier (a workshop for the "Santon" figurines) is located inside the gardens. The atelier was closed while we were there, and we didn't have a chance to ask about when it opens.
- Location: Top of the village
- Open: July - Aug: 9h30-12h00, 16h30-19h00
Sept: afternoons only
- Closed: Tues
Graveson - Bouches-du-Rhône (13690)
Aux Fleurs de l'Eau
- Aquatic Garden 15,000 square meters of garden, water basins and falls, with aquatic flora and birds.
- Open: 1 May - 14 June: weekends and holidays; 15 June - 15 Sept: daily.
- Entry: 4 €; under 8 free
- Tel: 0490 958 502; Fax: 0490 958 502
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: www.auxfleursdeleau.fr.st
Hyères - Var (83400)
Park St Bernard
- A large, terraced garden of lush plants and wildflowers, with a view down across the roofs of the old town to the sea.
- Location: In the old town go up the Rue Saint Esprit to where it turns and becomes Rue Barbacane. Facing the Porte Barruc archway, follow the steps to up to the right through the small gate.
- Open: 08h00 - evening
- Entry: Free
Manosque - Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04100)
Maison de la Biodiveersité
- Location: Chemin de la Thomassine
- Open: July-Sept: Wed-Sun; 10h30-17h00; 1-hr guided tours 11h-15h
Oct-June: Wed only
- Entry: 10 F
- Tel: 0492 877 440; Fax: 0492 877 440
- (Northwest of town center)
Verger conservatoire e 290 variétés fruitières traditionnelles; vegetable gardens; walking paths to discover Mediterranean forests; sundial (cadran solaire); fish basin
Menton Gardens - Alpes-Maritimes (06)
Le Jardin d'Agrumes du Palais Carnoles
- Also a museum.
- Location: 3 Ave de la Madone.
- Open: daily, 10h-12h, 14h-18h
- Closed: Tue and holidays
- Entry: free. Guided visit 5 euros.
- Contains the largest collection of citrus trees in Europe, including orange, lemon, clementine, grapefruit, mandarin, and kumquat. Decorated with contemporary sculptures since 1994. Located in the old summer residence of the Princes of Monaco
Jardin des Colombières
- Private - visits possible via Office de Tourisme or Service du Patrimoine.
- Location: Route des Colombières
- An estate overlooking the Mediterranean, with small picturesque buildings, cypress and olive trees, local flora.
- Location: Ave Blasco Ibanez
- Open: Never
- Closed: Always
- Created in the 20's by Blasco Ibanez, Fontana Rosa was a garden of Spanish style ceramics dedicated to the memory of the Grand Writers. It is still listed as "closed for renovation", but from our peeks through the windows, it's just a ruin at the end of its day.
Hanbury Botanic Gardens
- Location: 43, C.so Montecarlo - La Mortola; 18039 Ventimiglia - Italy;
- Begun in 1867 by Sir Thomas Hanbury, holidaying on the Côte d'Azur. The botanical gardens were created with the help of different expert botanists and pharmacologists, with an early emphasis on pharmaceutical plants.
Includes the Japanese Garden, the Australian Forest, succulent plants, the Garden of Perfumes, the collection of Roses. The entire ensemble is kept in a natural environment that encourages the complete biological cycle.
Le Jardin de Maria Serena
- Guided visits only, by rendez-vous.
- Location: Promenade Reine Astrid
- Entry: 5 euros
- Tropical and subtropical plants, including a rare dradon tgree from the Canary Islands, and a large collection of palm trees and cycas.
Le Parc du Pian
- Location: Bvd de Garavan.
- Open: daily
- Entry: free
- A large open park with over 500 ancient olive trees, some over 1000 year old, arranged in a series of terraces, with a view of the sea through the trees. The Parc du Pian is a public garden traditionally used for Sunday strolls by the people of Menton; a good place for kids' parties and picnicking, with a nearby mini-golf.
La Serre de la madone
- Guided visits only.
- Location: 74 route de Gorbio.
- Open: Botanical visit: 15h00 daily except Mon by a gardner.
Historical visit: 20 Feb - 30 Apr, Fridays 9h30; 1 May - 31 Oct, daily except Mon, 9h30.
Forest Flora: by reservation only, 22 Feb, 21 Mar, 11 Apr, 9h00-12h00.
- Entry: 8 euros
- Designed between 1919 and 1939 by Major Lawrence Johnston, designer of the English garden of Hidcote Manor. Contains an exceptional botanical collection, some now the only remaining species in the world. Also a remarkable example of landscape architecture, with ponds and fountains to help create the calm atmosphere. Classified in 1990 as an historical monument.
Square des Etats Unis
- Location: 29 Ave Carnot
- Open: daily
- Entry: free
- A contemporary garden, with botanical descriptions of the trees and leaves. It's also a place of Sunday strolls and shady resting.
Le Jardin botanique exotique du Val Rahmeh
- Location: Ave St Jacques
- Open: Daily. Apr-Sept 10h-12h30, 15h-18h; Oct-Mar 10h-12h30, 14h-17h.
- Closed: Tuesdays
- Entry: 4 euros
- Specialized in the Solanaceae and Labiatae, with many tropical and subtropical plants and edible plants (kiwis, avocados, bananas, etc.).
Monaco - Monaco (98000)
The Principality of Monaco is in the southeast corner of France, 15 km east of Nice, 10 km west of the Italian border.
Jardin Exotique de Monaco
- Also a Museum of Antrhopology
- On a rocky site above the Principality. With a large collection of exotic plants, 100-year-old cacti from South America, and 10-meter high euphorbes candélabres from Africa.
Nice - Alpes-Maritimes (06000)
- Location: 78 Ave de la Corniche Fleurie
- Open: May-Sept 9h00-12h00; 13h00-17h45
Oct-Apr 9h00-12h00; 13h00-16h45
- Closed: Monday
- Entry: Free
- Tel: 0493 710 744; Fax: 0493 781 182
- Email: email@example.com
- This garden is especially for Mediterranean plants, but inlcudes a collection of tropical plants. This allows for year-round visiting, since Mediterranean plants flower usually in late winter. The garden was created in 1983, and opened to the public in 1991.
- Location: Place du Monastère de Cimiez
- This is a lovely area of gardens and pergolas, beautiful flowers, fruit trees and a dense little wooded area. It's popular, but has quiet sections and is peaceful as well as beautiful. In addition to the flora, we especially like the ancient sundial (cadran solaire) on the end of the monastery facing the gardens.
Phoenix - Parc Floral de Nice
- Location: 405 Promendade des Anglais (across from the airport)
- Open: 15 Mar-14 Oct 9h-19h; 15 Oct-14 Mar 9h-17h
- Entry: 40 F; under 6, free
- Tel: 0493 180 333; Fax: 0493 180 101
- This is a very nice floral park, with water, lawns, thousands of flowers, an aviary and exotic butterflies. Most of the park is in the open, but the huge "green diamond" is the largest greenhouse in Europe, with different tropical climates, tropical forests and plants, birds and free-flying butterflies. The butterflies are stocked mid-April, so an off-season visit would miss them.
Porquerolles Island (Ile de Porquerolles) - Var (83400)
- Near Hyeres, has botanical plantations of trees and shrubs along with many wildflowers. - see Beyond's Porquerolles Island.
La Roquebrussanne - Var (83136)
Jardin de Elie Alexis
- Location: Chemin des Baumes
- Open: July-Aug: 9h-13h; rest of the year afternoons only.
- Entry: 4 €
- Tel: 0494 869 028
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: www.lejardindelie.fr
- A nice little garden with cactus as well as local flora and rock garden.
Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat - Alpes-Maritimes (06230)
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
- Location: Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula northern end (entrance).
- Open: Every day, year-round. 15 Feb-1 Nov: 10h-18h (19h July-Aug); 2 Nov-5 Feb: weekends and school holidays, 10h-18h.
- Tel: 0493 014 590
- The mansion of the Baronness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild (or Villa Ile de France has seven gardens designed in different styles: French Traditional, Florentine, Spanish, Exotic, Lapidary, Japanese, Provencal. Also a fabulous view of the coast, east and west. Also a library, shop, and tea room.
Sainte Agnès - Alpes-Maritimes (06500)
- A rock garden and historical tour, at the base of the chateau ramparts.
Sainte Maxime - Var (83120)
Botanical Gardens of Ste Maxime - Jardin Botanique de Ste Maxime
- Also called "Parc Botanique des Myrtes"
- Location: 1 km southwest of Ste Maxime center, beside the N98, opposite the beach just past "Le Croissette" plage.
- Open: 8h00 - 17h00
- Entry: Free
- This large, shady botanical park is very quiet, although just a few steps across from the busy and noisy beaches. Informational plaques are posted around the park for the regional trees and bushes, making a nice walk to explore them. There are log park benches for resting, a kiddie's playground area, and space for picnicking.
Salagon Priory (Prieuré de Salagon) - Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04)
- The Conservatoire du Patrimoine Ethnologique de Haute-Provence, at the Prieuré de Salagon, is an ethnological museum, with an ethno-botanical garden, Prieuré de Salagon.
- Location: on the plains just south of Mane, on a 2000-year-old Gallo-Roman site.
- Open: Apr-June 14h-18h; July-Sept 10h-12h, 14h-19h; Oct-11 Nov, weekends and holidays 14h-18h; 12 Nov-31 Mar Sunday, holidays 14h-18h.
- Tel: 0492 751 993; Fax: 0492 752 514
Medieval Garden - Jardin Médéval
- Location: Impasse Port Royal, 30700 Uzès
- Open: April, May, June, Sept: mon-fri 14h-18h; weekends, holidays 10h30-12h30, 14h-18h.
July-Aug: 10h30-12h30, 14h-18h.
Oct: daily 14h-17h.
- Closed: Nov-March
- Entry: Garden €4; supplement King's Tower €1.50. Under 12 free.
- Tel: 0466 223 821, or 0952 526 822
- Email: email@example.com
- Web: jardinmedievaluzes.blospot.com