HORTUS GOES TO CALVADOS
A golden harvest of private gardens in Basse-Normandie
with David Wheeler, editor of HORTUS, and Kew-trained, Paris-based horticulturist Maite Delmas
The Calvados region of northern France has a varied terrain that stretches from the rugged Cotentin Peninsula through the bocage, a rolling landscape of dense hedgerows and wooded valleys to the area’s celebrated and plentiful cider orchards. Again, we have selected a group of fine gardens of great contrast where we will meet owners and gardeners to learn about plants and design from a uniquely French perspective. Our hotel, the four-star Château La Chenevière close to Bayeux, is an elegant eighteenth century manoir (one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group), set in its own fine grounds with remnant champion trees of its once-famous arboretum. La Chenevière is run to the highest standards with elegant and exquisitely-furnished rooms and a restaurant serving some of Normandy’s most delectable gastronomic delights.
Day 1: Monday 8th September
Depart by Eurostar from London, St Pancras 09.17 to arrive at Paris Gare du Nord, at 12.47. (Please arrange your own lunch on the train). David Wheeler and Maite Delmas will meet you at the station and together we will then drive to the heart of Calvados to Château Boutemont. When Achille Duchêne was asked to design these gardens at the beginning of the twentieth century, he was opposed to the still fashionable (in France) English Landscape style and thus returned to a more formal French garden style that has been embellished with love and care by the current owners, M and Mme Armand Sarfati. We have been invited to a refreshing drink on the terrace before continuing the journey into Calvados to Hotel La Chenevière for a warm welcome and an evening meal with selected wines. This will be your comfortable and sumptuous base for the duration of the tour.
Day 2: Tuesday 9th September
Château Vendeuvre is the home of the nineth Count of Vendeuvre and has a remarkable garden filled with magical surprises: water automata, a collection of dog kennels, a shell grotto and other follies and topiary garden. Following lunch we travel to Château Canon for a traditional organic cider tasting and a visit to its flower-filled Chartreuses, a sequence of thirteen interlocking colour-themed walled gardens.
Day 3: Wednesday 10th September
Jérome Goutier describes himself as a photojournalist and author who has written a series of guides to the gardens of his native Cotentin Peninsula. We start with a visit to his own private garden that specialises in southern-hemisphere plants. We then journey down the peninsula to the small town of Coutances for some free time for lunch and to wander in the bizarre municipal park, the Jardin des Plantes de Coutances, extravagantly planted with an amazing assortment of of bright flowers. Not far away is the Musée Manoir de Saussey, housing an array of ceramic artifacts and an exceptional glass collection, with examples from ancient Egypt to the nineteenth-century in galleries surrounding a beautifully intimate flower garden. On oiur return to the hotel we visit the magical, exquisite and imaginatively planted Les Jardins de Castillon-Plantbessin.
Day 4: Thursday 11th September
Not far from the hotel, within sight of the Gold Beach, site of the 1944 Normandy Landings, Château de Brecy, a rare delight, a unique seventeenth-century formal garden on a manageable scale, described by former owner, Jacques de Lacretelle as having “The finery of an Italian princess thrown over the shoulders of a little Normandy peasant girl” It now belongs to HORTUS founder members, Didier & Barbara Wirth who have heroically and unstintingly restored both its architectural and horticultural fabric to the highest level of perfection.
Day 5: Friday 12th September
Driving back towards Paris, we make our own grande finale at Château du Champ de Bataille, where designer Jacques Garcia has revived a grand estate situated on the site of Normandy’s tenth-century battle for independence. He has succeeded in giving extraordinarily modern overtones to the classic French formal garden on a very large scale. Lunch is included in the velvet-clad tearooms before leaving plenty of time to return to Paris Gare du Nord for a 17.58 Eurostar back to London, arriving at St. Pancras at 19.39.
How much & what's included
The price per person: £2890.00
Single supplement: £500.00 (levied by the hotel)
The price includes: four nights dinner, bed & breakfast accommodation at Château La Chenevière three lunches, plus return Eurostar train tickets from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. Please note that if you wish to join the tour in Paris we will deduct £75.00 per person from the tour price.
In accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992” all passengers booking with Boxwood Tours Limited are fully Insured for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Boxwood Tours Limited.
A certificate detailing this cover will be given to each and every passenger as evidence of cover. Please ensure that you have been given the appropriate certificate(s) at the time of booking.
This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through HCC International Insurance Company PLC.