Gardens of Normandy (RHS Package)

5 Days

From £695pp

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  • The mediaeval atmosphere of Rouen
  • Seeing Monet’s paintings come to life before your eyes at Giverny
  • The glorious profusion of colour and fragrance at Le Bois des Moutiers
  • Travelling back to the time of the Three Musketeers at the châteaux of Mirosmesnil and Bosmelet
  • An impressive and varied display of roses at the Jardins d’Angélique

With its tranquil setting on the River Seine, its beautiful 14th Century Cathedral, its cobbled streets and timber fronted houses, the atmospheric medieval city of Rouen is the perfect base for a holiday in Normandy, a region which is home to a broad range of disparate and beautiful gardens.

Perhaps the most notable gardens are those at Giverny, situated between Rouen and Paris on the banks of the Seine. It is here that Claude Monet designed a garden ablaze with flowers and colours which would become his favourite subject for painting, and which continues to give great pleasure today. Japanese-style bridges festooned with wisteria and the draped fronds of willow frame the iconic water lilies - Monet’s paintings brought vividly to life.

In addition to Monet’s Garden, we will visit a selection of gardens in the region. One of the best known is Le Bois de Moutiers, in part influenced by Gertrude Jekyll, featuring white valerian, iceberg roses and white irises. Nearby is Le Vasterival, a magnificent garden in a natural style which was started in 1957 by Princess Sturdza, a talented plantswoman. Two of our gardens are set around châteaux dating from the reign of Louis XIII: the Château de Miromesnil and the Château de Bosemelet, both of which feature stunning kitchen gardens or potagers, where beds of vegetables of every description are offset by colourful annual flowers.

Rounding off our holiday are the Jardins d’Angélique, an impressive rose garden with a relaxed atmosphere typical of Normandy gardens; Jardin Agapanthe, an experimental garden, created by a landscape architect with a passion for antiques which decorate the garden and the Jardin Plume, a contemporary garden making generous use of grasses and perennials.

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Day 1

We depart from London and travel by coach to Folkestone to catch a Eurotunnel shuttle service to Calais. On arrival in France we continue to the four-star Hotel Mercure Champs de Mars in Rouen. A welcome drink and dinner is included this evening.

Day 2

After breakfast this morning we travel north to the beautiful gardens at Le Bois des Moutiers on the northern coast, near Dieppe. The garden, in part influenced by the English designer Gertrude Jekyll, is full of charm. We continue to the nearby garden of Le Vasterival. Its informal design with paths, woodlands, glades and immaculate grass walks leading temptingly in all directions, contains a richness of flora in a variety of settings all year round. We also visit the Château de Miromesnil, which represents four centuries of harmonious architectural styles including a rare example of Louis XIII monumental style.

Enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 3

After breakfast, we visit a rare example of pure Louis XIII architectural style, Château de Bosmelet. Of particular interest will be the rainbow potager garden with some 900 varieties of vegetables and flowers in four chromatic patterns on either side of a central boxwood hedge. In the afternoon we visit the Jardins Agapanthe. There are two gardens and a nursery here, with many interesting and unusual features, including a scented walk, a sunken garden with lavender, a Mediterranean garden with ponds, a pergola, terraces and a fountain.

Enjoy the evening at leisure.

Day 4

This morning, we depart for Giverny and the world famous house and gardens of Claude Monet.  Our early start today will ensure an early arrival at Giverny - a time when the gardens are at their most tranquil. Both the house and gardens have been lovingly and accurately restored - one would believe that the family have just gone out to walk in the garden. Enjoy some free time in Giverny, before we continue to the impressive Jardins d'Angélique at Montmain. Opposite the magnificent former Norman manor house is a subtle and sensuous collection of 1600 varieties of rose surrounded by lawn gardens.  

Enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 5

Today, following breakfast, we check out of our hotel and begin our homeward journey. Before we leave Normandy we have time for one more visit, the Jardin Plume. Since 1997, Sylvie and Patrick Quibel have been creating this natural yet structured contemporary garden in a typical Normandy orchard. Making generous use of grasses and perennials, this four acre garden includes seasonal plantings, a central square mirror pool and a kitchen garden. 

Following our visit, we return to Calais for our Eurotunnel crossing to Folkestone. On arrival we return to our original departure points, where arrival is due in the evening.

What's Included

  • 4 nights at the 4* Hotel Mercure Champs de Mars, Rouen – bed & breakfast
  • First night dinner & welcome drink
  • Return Eurotunnel: Folkestone-Calais
  • Visits to Le Bois de Moutiers, Château de Miromesnil, Château de Bosmelet, and Monet’s garden
  • Services of a professional tour manager

Supplements per person

  • Single room supplement: £200.00
  • Supplement for August: £30.00    
  • Insurance: £39.00 (under 65); £78.00 (65-74); £117.00 (75-90)
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Departures

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

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Departure points and times

Depart Return
London
(Tothill St, Westminster)
0700 2115
London
(Gatwick Airport)
0815 2000