24th to 28th May 2020:
A celebration of the Rose from Paris to the Loire
A garden tour hosted by Rosarian, Michael Marriott
and led by Maïté Delmas

Following our highly successful English Rose tours with Michael Marriott, we now venture across the channel to investigate the story of the French Rose and to enjoy some truly wonderful gardens and rose collections from Paris to the Loire. If you love the perfume of roses on an early summer’s day and have always promised yourself time to discover more of this vast and varied genus, then this is the tour for you; an unmissable opportunity to stroll from rose to rose discussing the merits of under-planting, mulching, pruning, budding, training, and even ‘the name of the rose’ in the company of a great rose enthusiast & expert. We will stay one night at Hôtel Les Pléiades, in the village of Barbizon before travelling down to the Loire to Hôtel Le Choiseul, Amboise. Both hotels offer good food and hospitality: dinners with local wines and bed & breakfast all included. Michael Marriott is senior rosarian of David Austin Roses and is one of the world’s most esteemed rose experts; Maïté Delmas has over thirty years’ experience of managing plant collections (including roses) gained at Kew, Bordeaux and Paris Botanic Gardens. Maïté has worked with Boxwood for many years and is a well-respected tour leader familiar to many of our travellers.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Sunday 24th May
We take the 08:19 Eurostar train from London, St Pancras to Paris, Gare du Nord, arriving at 11:47, then travel together by coach to Roseraie Val-de-Marne in L’Haÿ-les-Roses. We start with a delicious light lunch followed by a tour of the roses with the garden’s curator. Initiated in the late nineteenth century by Jules Gravereaux, a private collector and owner of the Parisian department store Le Bon Marché, the garden now has more than 11,000 rosebushes and nearly 2,900 species and varieties of rose, making it one of the largest collections of old roses in the world. We then drive to Hôtel Les Pléiades, on the edge of the Forêt de Fontainebleau with time to settle in before an evening meal together.

Day 2: Monday 25th May
Though André Eve (1931-2015) is well known in France for his work in hybridising old roses, few people know of his own small garden in the Pithiviers. This garden, full of his favourite roses planted with compatible herbaceous plants – is a joy to see and is maintained to high standards by a group of skilled volunteers. At Le Manoir de la Javeliére Park, we are invited to lunch by the owner, Patrick Masure, and to view his comprehensive collection of wild roses. Next, we visit the nursery that was originally set up by André Eve for a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of Les Roses Anciennes André Eve where work is still underway creating beautiful new French roses. We then journey on to Hôtel Le Choiseul overlooking the River Loire in Amboise with time to settle before dining in the hotel restaurant.

Day 3: Tuesday 26th May
The fairy-tale Château Rivau has a remarkable garden with a remarkable owner. Patricia Laigneau has planned her colourful garden to wrap around the château. With a particular passion for roses, she will take us on a special tour to show how roses are interwoven into all corners of the garden before a delicious lunch together. In the afternoon we have a private visit to the Loubert Rose Collection where over 2,500 different species and cultivars of the genus Rosa comprise a French National Collection, its main purpose to preserve and display Rose species as well as old and rare varieties. We then return to Hôtel Le Choiseul for dinner together.

Day 4: Wednesday 27th May
In the heart of Touraine, we find Chédigny, ‘village des roses’, the only village in France to be ranked as a ‘Jardin Remarquable’ for its extraordinary collection of roses and Rose Festival. We are then invited to lunch and Vouvray wine tasting at Château de Valmer owned by the same family for five generations. Today the Count & Countess de Saint Venant still live in the château, their son, Jean de Saint Venant managing the property and vineyards. Later, we visit the gardens of Château de Villandry a unique testament to Renaissance architecture with decorative potager and symbolic ornamental garden. Villandry has long been the epitome of decorative vegetable gardens; the standard of horticulture, attention to detail, and clever design remain a total delight; we meet the head gardener to discuss the standard roses that give the rhythm and the high notes to the potager. We then return to Hôtel Le Choiseul for dinner together.

Day 5: Thursday 28th May
Moving up-river we pass the village of Cormeray to find a small rose garden, product of the full-blown passion of owner, Brigitte Chiron-Charaud. We then find Les Jardins de Roquelin where Stephane Chassine, who previously worked for André Eve, has created a very beautiful cottage garden full of his favourite old roses on the banks of the Loire. The coach will then drive to Paris, Gare du Nord in good time to catch the 18:13 Eurostar service to London, arriving at St Pancras at 19:39.

How much & what’s included

The price per person: £3280

Single supplement: £250 (levied by the hotel).

The price includes: one night with dinner at Hôtel Les Pléiades, Barbizon and three nights at Hôtel Le Choiseul, Amboise, bed & breakfast and dinner with wine included; five lunches; return tickets on Eurostar and all transport during the tour. If you wish to travel independently to join the tour in Paris, Gare du Nord, please deduct £80 and contact the office to discuss joining arrangements. The price does not include extras or travel insurance. Please note that Boxwood Tours use hotels of character featuring a variety of rooms & styles.

Joining Arrangements: You can either join the tour at Bristol Parkway at 10:30 and travel to Cornwall by coach or take the train to St Austell Rail Station to join the coach at 14:15. Alternatively, if you wish to take your own car to the hotel we will arrange a transfer to join the group at the first garden. On the last day, return to St Austell Rail Station for 14:30 or continue by coach to Bristol Parkway to arrive c.18:30. We can also arrange transfers to the hotel for those who have left their cars or wish to extend their stay.

FINANCIAL FAILURE INSURANCE

Arena Tours Ltd is a company committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. We are therefore pleased to announce that, at no extra cost to you, and in accordance with ”The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018” all passengers booking with Boxwood Tours are fully protected in the unlikely event of our insolvency, please contact us for further details.