The Loire Valley is full of incredibly pretty gardens. The Loire châteaux offer fine examples of landscape parks, remarkable kitchen gardens and fine water features, such as those at the Châteaux of Cheverny and Villandry. Elsewhere, the large numbers of green Loire Valley spaces include both fun and informative botanical gardens, such as Terra Botanica, the theme park dedicated to the plant world, or the Arboretum national des Barres which is home to trees from all five continents. Some gardens welcome visitors into tropical greenhouses containing cacti and orchids, while others offer the opportunity to go for a peaceful stroll, like in the Parc Oriental de Maulévrier. Finally, if you are looking for a really romantic walk, head to a 'garden of a thousand roses', of which there are many in the Loire Valley! Examples include the Jardin de Roquelin and Les Chemins de la Rose de Doué-la-Fontaine. Some of these spaces are listed by Escapades aux Jardins, which invites you to discover them through nine different themes, from Medieval to romantic gardens.
Spotlight on Villandry:
Just a few kilometres from Tours are the romantic, internationally renowned Villandry gardens surrounding their eponymous château. There is magic in every season here: take a stroll in the Jardin d'Ornement or the Jardin d’Amour, whose clever designs illustrate tender, passionate, fickle and tragic love through different uses of colour. Then comes the herb garden with aromatic and medicinal plants, while the music garden is an intricate fusion of boxwood, yew trees and flowers. In the Renaissance garden, vegetables and flowers have been planted side by side within nine identically-sized squares, creating a chequerboard of stunning colour. The gardening team replants the beds twice a year using no less than 40 varieties of vegetables, including the famous Villandry cabbage. Make sure you leave time to wander across the vast lawns of the water garden, admire the Jardin du Soleil and lose yourself in the hedged maze. The château’s bell tower offers a wonderful elevated view of the gardens. Events and activities are held throughout the year at Villandry – you can enjoy the magical Nuits des Mille Feux (Nights of a Thousand Lights) in early summer, while in the autumn the gardeners share their expertise during the Journées du Potager (Vegetable Gardeners’ Days).