GARDENS AT THE HEART OF FRANCE
Paris & the Île de France, featuring Courson, ‘Journées des Plantes’
Hosted by editor Juliet Roberts & plantsman John Hoyland
Our foray to the heart of France will capture the charm of the Parisian gardens, landscapes and formal masterpieces surrounding châteaux in the Île de France - featuring a visit to the highlight of the French gardening calendar, Courson ‘Journées des Plantes’, held in the grounds of the Château. To accompany this event we have selected extraordinary formal gardens, exuberant potagers, Parisian parks and a couple of very special private gardens that will look wonderful in the early autumn sun, many displaying abundant produce and a last fling of vibrant colours. The tour is based at the luxury four-star Hotel du Panthéon in Paris where each floor has exquisitely decorated rooms inspired by different influential French women, and then at the four-star Hotel les Pléiades in the village of Barbizon in the beautiful forest of Fontainebleau, once the retreat of artists, now an ideal peaceful base for this special garden tour. Click the following link to hear: John Hoyland describe the gardens of Paris & the Île de France.
Day 1: Monday 13th October
We depart by the Eurostar service from London, St Pancras Rail Station at 09.17 AM, arriving Paris, Gare du Nord at 12:47 PM. You will be met and transferred to Hotel du Panthéon with time to check in before a light lunch and a walk through the fashionable Rives Gauche including the elegant and beautifully planted Jardin du Luxembourg and a step into Judith Pillsbury’s town garden. Judith is currently the owner and custodian of La Louve, garden of the late Nicole de Vésian. Her Parisian shade garden features simple evergreens and a sculpture by Ian Hamilton Finlay. An enormous ivy and vine clad wall gives privacy and brilliant hues in the autumn light. Return to the hotel before dining together in a local restaurant.
Day 2: Tuesday 14th October
John Hoyland knows Paris and its gardens like the back of his hand. To join John on a walking tour through the heart of Paris is a delight: starting at the Île de la Cité; drinking in the elaborate facade of Notre Dame; encircling the cathedral to stroll across Place Jean XXIII; thence through the famous flower market to Square du Vert-Galant before crossing to the right bank. The Tuileries gardens were originally laid out by Catherine di’Medici, revisited by Le Nôtre and now showcase work by some of France’s leading garden designers: a very important and beautiful garden. The walk ends at Jardin Palais Royale, a charming verdant square surrounded by elegant arcades and apartments once home to Colette, Jean Cocteau and others. Following a light lunch you are free to visit L’Orangerie, to see Monet’s Nympheas or La Louvre, or to shop….or for those who wish to continue looking at gardens with John and Juliet. Meet up again this evening for a meal at a local restaurant not far from the hotel.
Day 3: Wednesday 15th October
Mark Rudkin is an American born landscape architect and painter who has worked on some of France’s key garden projects including the gardens of the Palais Royal, Le Hameau, Giverny and Chaumont. Today we visit his private garden, Le Bois du Fay. Then a special invitation to lunch at Château de Saint Jean de Beauregard followed by a stroll in the remarkable productive potager with the display of seasonal produce featuring many rare varieties. Arrive at Hotel les Pléiades with time to check in before a welcome meal together.
Day 4: Thursday 16th October
A morning visit to Château de Courances, a garden of mature trees and running waters; one of the loveliest in France with a distinctive character derived from the sombre beauty of the formal gardens. Lunch together at Vaux le Vicomte, Le Nôtre’s first masterpiece prior to expanding his ideas at Versailles: a fascinating historical garden reaching far out into the landscape where we meet the owner to learn the essence of this wonderful landscape. Return to Barbizon to dine again together at the hotel.
Day 5: Friday 17th October
The finale of the tour is a visit to Courson ‘Journées des Plantes’, a plant fair with the ambience & charm of a French provincial market set in the grounds of the 17th century château. Time to explore before we return to Paris, Gare du Nord to catch the 17:13 PM Eurostar service arriving at London St Pancras at 18:29PM.
How much & what's included
The price per person: £2498.00
Single supplement: £380.00 (levied by the hotels)
The price includes: two nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at the Hotel du Panthéon and two nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation at Les Pléiades; two additional evening meals at local restaurants with wines included & five light lunches.
Please note that the ability to make steady walks in Paris is an essential element of this tour: if you need to discuss this, please do ring the Boxwood office. To join in Paris, please notify us under ‘Special Requirements’ in the booking form and we will deduct the cost of the Eurostar service (£75.00) from the tour price. If joining in Paris, please also check your joining arrangements with the Boxwood Office before confirming your travel details.
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.