Gardens of Normandy

  • June 3 - 11, 2024
  • $5,485 USD per person
  • Visit alluring Normandy in early summer when gardens are adorned with the most romantic displays of roses. Discover rigorous formal French design at Château du Champ-de-Bataille. Experience sensuous naturalistic planting at Le Jardin Plume. Revel in cutting-edge topiary at Les Jardines d’Etretat. Embrace the wildly colorful flowers in Monet’s Garden.

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I got so much inspiration from the gardens on the tour, but just as much, I loved talking with the owners and gardeners. Their insights on planting and design were wonderful, and their joy at showing us their gardens blew me away.

2023 Tour Member

Gardens of Normandy

June 3 - 11, 2024


Welcome to the Gardens of Normandy tour, where you'll discover some of Europe's most enchanting country gardens nestled in the rolling hills of Normandy. Over nine delightful days, we invite you to join us on a journey through time as we explore a curated selection of France's finest gardens spanning from the 17th century to the present day.
Prepare to be captivated as we wander through a tapestry of diverse garden styles, from lavish parterres to meandering meadows, from charming kitchen gardens to secluded floral retreats. Each garden we visit offers its own unique story and ambiance, promising a truly immersive experience.

At Giverny, channel your inner Monet as we bask in the beauty of light dancing on water, just as it inspired the master painter's iconic water lily compositions. Marvel at the sculpted elegance of Le Jardin Plume's wave hedge, surrounded by a riot of vibrant blooms and swaying grasses. Discover the art of garden drama at Les Jardins Agapanthe, where visionary design meets antique garden objects. And find serenity amidst the precise geometry of Château du Champ de Bataille's meticulously crafted landscapes.

But our adventure doesn't end there! In addition to these magnificent gardens, we'll treat ourselves to six other horticultural havens. We'll also take time to explore the majestic Mont Saint Michel, wander through the charming village of Honfleur, indulge in the flavors of apple brandy at a Calvados distillery, and pay homage to history at Omaha Beach.

Join us for an unforgettable journey through the Gardens of Normandy, where beauty, history, and culture converge to create memories that will last a lifetime.


June 3, Monday – Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
June 4, Tuesday – Les Jardins Angelique, Jardin de Valerianes
June 5, Wednesday – Château du Champ de Bataille, Les Jardin Plume
June 6, Thursday – Les Jardins d’Étretat, Honfleur, Calvados Distillery
June 7, Friday – Cháteau de Miromesnil, Les Jardin Agapanthe
June 8, Saturday – Omaha Beach, Les Jardins de Castillon
June 9, Sunday – Mont-Saint-Michel
June 10, Monday – Jardin du Château de Brécy, Monet’s Garden
June 11, Tuesday – Depart or continue travels on your own

CarexTours strives to operate according to our published itinerary. However, adjustments may be necessary if unforeseen circumstances beyond our control occur or opportunities arise that would enhance the itinerary.


Day 1, June 3, Monday -- ARRIVE IN PARIS

  • Tour members independently arrange travel to Charles De Gaulle Airport, make their way to the Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel & Conference Centre, and check into the room booked for them (included in the tour price). We'll gather in the hotel restaurant at 6:30 PM for a Welcome Dinner (included).


  • We’ll start our exploration of Normandy gardens at Jardins d’Angelique. It features two distinct styles both designed by the owners Gloria and Yves Lebellegard. In front of the 18th-century house, the garden has an informal English style with winding grass paths, a stream, and intensely mixed plantings, many shade tolerant. In the back, the garden is formally laid out with strict geometry in parterres and enhanced by mainly white flowers. Home to over 2,000 rose varieties, d’Angelique is an excellent introduction to the two styles, formal French & informal English, that dominate Normandy gardens. Before traveling to our afternoon garden, we will have lunch here (not included).
  • This afternoon, we visit Jardin de Valerianes, a three-acre country garden designed & maintained by the owners, Michel and Marylin Tissait. The garden is actually two separate gardens. The first and older garden is modeled on ideas usually associated with English gardens—double borders, vistas, and garden rooms. The second, newer garden, located across a country road, is a naturalistic arrangement of small ornamental trees and flowering shrubs culminating in an Asian-inspired pond garden. We're sure to love this pleasure garden and come away with many ideas for our gardens when returning home.


  • Today, we first visit Chateau du Champ de Batailles, a classical French garden many consider a masterpiece. Meticulously landscaped and maintained, the grounds offer a sensory journey through elegance and refinement with formal terraces, manicured lawns, intricate parterres, symmetrical hedges, and ornate water features, all reminiscent of the grandeur of 17th-century French garden tradition that Versailles exemplifies. Lunch will be in a village cafe (not included) before proceeding to our afternoon garden.
  • This afternoon, we travel to what is arguably one of France's finest private modern gardens anywhere: Le Jardin Plume. Designed by the owners Patrick and Sylvie Quibel, the garden skillfully combines French formality's strong linear structural elements with naturalistic planting schemes of billowing perennials and swaying grasses. The effect is stunning and helps explain why garden lovers from all over the world visit Plume when they are in France.


  • Our day starts at the decidedly avant-garde Les Jardins d’Etretat. Overlooking white chalk cliffs on the English Channel, the garden combines masterful topiary and sculpture. d’Etretat is the singular vision of Russian landscape architect Alexandre Grivko, who, after making his professional reputation designing for oligarchs, calls Jardines d’Etretat his first personal creation. The artistic history of this property goes back to the impressionists when Monet inspired the first maker of this garden. It is only fitting that it continues to be art-inspired and modern. Prepare yourself to see a garden like no other.
  • We depart briefly from visiting gardens to wander the streets of Honfleur and savor the picturesque village's food, art galleries, and historic charm. We’ll have lunch at a cafe (not included) and then have free time to explore Honfleur. Located where the Seine River meets the English Channel, the village was painted by Monet and other artists and is widely celebrated as the birthplace of Impressionism.
  • We round out the day with a visit to a Calvados distillery to learn about Normandy’s centuries-old tradition of crafting apple brandy from the fruit of local orchards. We’ll tour the Calvados-making process and see how it is patiently aged in oak barrels. Then, we’ll have the chance to savor this regional treasure's exquisite aroma and taste for ourselves.


  • This morning, we’ll travel to Château de Miromesnil, a 16th-century castle surrounded by a beech grove of more than 3000 trees. That alone would make it worth a visit, but the real treasure here, and the one we will explore closely, is the classic walled potager next to the château. Here, we’ll see the alluring French garden tradition of combining ornamentals with productive crops. Vegetables, fruit, and colorful cottage flowers grow side by side, making a tableau that appeals to all the senses. The central double border overflowing with colorful perennials and annuals is an exceptional feature. We’ll have lunch at the château (not included) before traveling to our afternoon garden.
  • We start our tour with a visit to Les Jardins Agapanthe, the personal design laboratory of landscape architect Alexandre Thomas. On a 1½ acre plot, Thomas has created a stylish, contemporary garden infused with imaginative ideas. We’ll wander the winding paths that connect themed spaces, coming upon one surprise after another. We’ll surely notice Thomas’s passion for plants of all kinds and his love of placing antiques throughout the garden. Agapanthe is a garden made to inspire. Lunch will be in a village cafe (not included) before proceeding to our afternoon garden.


  • This morning, we’ll experience the crisp air of the Norman Coast as we pay our respects at Omaha Beach, the site of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France during World War II. We’ll have a guided tour before exploring the memorial on our own. Lunch will be in a village cafe (not included) before proceeding to our afternoon garden.
  • We travel south to visit Jardin de Castillon, owned by Colette and Hubert Sainte-Beuve. The couple started with a plant nursery in the 1970s and made their first garden in 1985. Modeled on the English idea of themed garden rooms, this garden is divided by hedges. Soon after, they added another garden, designed by Parisian artist François Houtin. Over the years, Collette introduced hardy perennials to French gardeners at popular plant fairs, suggesting that they replace their typical annual bedding plants with these softer plants that return each spring. It has been said that their garden and nursery changed how the French gardened.

Day 7, June 9, Sunday -- MONT-SAINT-MICHEL

  • With one glimpse of Mont-Saint-Michel’s silhouette rising above the tidal flats, we’ll understand why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered a wonder of the Western world. Beginning in the Middle Ages as a monastery, it has long been one of Europe’s important pilgrimage destinations. We’ll be here all day, enough time to learn about the medieval architecture of the Benedictine Abbey or just stroll the steep streets to visit shops and cafes while relishing the atmosphere of this rocky island. Lunch will be at an eatery of your choosing (not included).


  • On this last day of our tour, we visit the refined formal gardens of Château de Brécy. The gardens were made in the second half of the 17th century and are one of the few in France that have remained unchanged. After the 18th century, some parts of the garden were abandoned until 1958, when Jacques de Lacretelle and his wife began restoration, which the current owners, Didier and Barbara Wirth, continued. The green, white, and blue gardens are laid out in four ascending terraces at the back of the château anchored by a central path and accented with topiary and carved decorative stone elements. We’ll eat a box lunch on our long drive across Normandy to reach our last garden near Paris and the airport.
  • A tour of Normandy would not be complete without a visit to Monet’s Garden at Giverny. Beloved by gardeners everywhere, we’ll see this place of color, light, and water for ourselves. The garden has two parts: the flower garden around the house and, across the street, the Water Lily Garden with its famous Japanese bridge. We all know that many of Monet’s most revered works were painted here, but Monet once said, “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” How fortunate we are to be able to see it. Ensure you leave enough time to explore the house, which will be open for a self-guided tour.

Day 9, June 11, Tuesday -- DEPART FOR HOME

  • Our time together will end, but garden lovers find fresh inspiration wherever they are. Travelers may choose to return home or carry on the adventure.
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