Gardens of Normandy

The Gardens of Normandy

  • September 22 – 30, 2020
  • $4,300 USD per person
  • Visit Monet’s garden at Giverny, the naturalistic Le Jardin Plume, Château de Miromesnil’s potager, & Mont-Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Gardens of Normandy

September 22 – 30, 2020

In the gently rolling hills and picturesque villages of Normandy are some of Europe’s most irresistibly beautiful country gardens, both historic and contemporary. On our nine-day journey, we’ll visit private creations made by their owners in diverse styles: opulent parterres; naturalistic meadows; walled potagers; romantic pleasure gardens; and flower-filled hideaways.

At Giverny, we’ll marvel, as Monet did, at the play of light upon the pond that inspired his world-famous water lily compositions. Le Jardin Plume will enchant us with its exquisitely shaped wave hedge surrounded by billows of colorful flowers and airy grasses. At Le Bois des Moutiers, we’ll explore the only foray into France of the famous English partnership of planting designer Gertrude Jekyll and architect Edwin Lutyens. Les Jardins Agapanthe will give us a lesson in how a visionary owner creates drama with garden objects and topiary. And at Château du Champ-de-Bataille, we’ll stand in awe of the exacting formal design modeled after Versailles in its grand opulence. We’ll round out our tour with five other gardens and a visit to Mont-Saint-Michel, shop in the charming village of Honfleur, and pay our respects at Omaha Beach.

AT-A-GLANCE ITINERARY

September 22, Tuesday – Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
September 23, Thursday – Monet’s Garden, Jardin Le Vasterival
September 24, Thursday – Le Bois des Moutiers, Cháteau de Miromesnil
September 25, Friday – Les Jardins Agapanthe, Le Jardin Plume
September 26, Saturday – Les Jardines d’Étretat, Honfleur
September 27, Sunday – Omaha Beach, Les Jardins de Castillon
September 28, Monday – Mont-Saint-Michel
September 29, Tuesday – Château de Boutemont, Château du Champ-de-Bataille
September 30, Wednesday – Depart or continue travels on your own

CarexTours strives to operate according to our published itinerary. However, in the event of unforeseen circumstances beyond our control or opportunities that would enhance the itinerary, adjustments may be made.

FULL ITINERARY

Day 1, September 22, Tuesday — ARRIVE IN PARIS
  • Tour members independently arrange travel to Charles De Gaulle Airport and make their way to Novotel Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport Hotel, and check into the room that will have been booked for each of you (included in the price of the tour). We’ll gather in the hotel restaurant at 6:30 PM for a Welcome Dinner (included) with the first round of drinks courtesy of CarexTours.
Day 2, September 23, Wednesday — MONET’S GARDEN, JARDIN LE VASTERIVAL
  • A tour of Normandy would not be complete without a visit to Monet’s Garden at Giverny. Beloved by gardeners everywhere, we’ll see for ourselves this place of color, light, and water. 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. Make sure you leave enough time to explore the house, which will be open for a self-guided tour. We’ll have lunch in a Giverny cafe (not included) before we drive across Normandy for our afternoon garden.
  • About one-half mile from the Normandy coast is Jardin le Vasterival. It was created during the last half of the 20th-century by Princess Greta Sturdza (1915 – 2009), a Norwegian who gained the title when she married a Romanian prince. She settled in the region after fleeing Romania when the monarchy fell and devoted herself to making this valley garden for the rest of her life. Her style was naturalistic with graceful rivers of grass flowing through beautifully planted trees and shrubs. She loved all plants, but was particularly fond of Rhododendrons, maples, and hydrangeas, which she collected from all over the world.
  • For the night, we’ll check into Hotel Château de Sissi for a three-night stay and have dinner together in the hotel restaurant (included).
Day 3, September 24, Thursday — LE BOIS DES MOUTIERS, CHÂTEAU DE MIROMESNIL
  • We start our day in the gardens of Le Bois des Moutiers which one could say is a bit of England in France. This magical place came about through the successful collaboration in the early 20th century of the owner Guillaume Mallet, the English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, and the influential English horticulturist Gertrude Jekyll. Almost 120 years old, the garden is an example of a superbly maintained, mature landscape with awe-inspiring 30-foot-tall rhododendrons and immense hortensia hydrangeas, along with lovely details in archways, paths, terraces, and a pergola. It is truly an artistic fusion of architecture and horticulture. What more could anyone want? We’ll have lunch in a cafe (not included) on our way to the afternoon garden.
  • Next, 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 worthy of a visit, but the real treasure here, and the one we will explore closely, is the walled classic potager next to the château. Here we’ll see on display 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. A particularly special feature is the central double border overflowing with colorful perennials and annuals.
  • We return for the night to Hotel Château de Sissi & have dinner together in the restaurant (included).
Day 4, September 25, Friday — LES JARDINES AGAPANTHE, JARDIN PLUME
  • Today, we start 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 big ideas. We’ll wander the winding paths that connect imaginatively themed spaces coming upon one surprise after another. Two things we’ll be sure to notice are Thomas’s passion for plants of all kinds and his love of placing antiques throughout the garden. This is a garden that will inspire us all. Lunch today will be in a cafe (not included) on our way to the next garden.
  • This afternoon we travel to what is arguably one of the finest modern private gardens in France today: Le Jardin Plume. Designed by the owners Patrick and Sylvie Quibel, the garden skillfully combines the strong linear structural elements of French formality 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 make sure to visit Plume when they are in France.
  • Again tonight we stay at the Hotel Château de Sissi & have dinner together in the restaurant (included).
Day 5, September 26, Saturday — JARDINES D’ETRETAT, HONFLEUR
  • Our day starts at the decidedly avant-garde Jardines d’Etretat. Overlooking the white chalk cliffs on the English Channel, the garden brings together masterful topiary and sculpture. This 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 the first garden maker was inspired by Monet. 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 garden exploring to savor the food, art galleries, and historic charm of the picturesque village of Honfleur. Lunch will be in a cafe of your choice (not included) in the village. Honfleur, located where the Seine River meets the English Channel, has been skillfully painted by Monet and other artists and is widely celebrated as the birthplace of Impressionism.
  • We’ll meet for dinner in a Honfleur restaurant (not included) before traveling southwest to Caen and checking into the Best Western Plus Le Moderne for three nights.
Day 6, September 27, Sunday — OMAHA BEACH, JARDIN DE CASTILLON
  • 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 cafe (not included) before our afternoon garden.
  • Next, 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. It was modeled on the English idea of themed garden rooms divided by hedges. Soon after, they added another garden with garden rooms, this time designed by Parisian artist François Houtin. 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 come back each spring. It has been said that their garden and nursery changed the way the French gardened.
  • We return to the Best Western Plus Le Moderne for the night and have dinner together in a Caen restaurant (included).
Day 7, September 28, Monday — MONT-SAINT-MICHEL
  • With one glimpse of Mont-Saint-Michel’s silhouette rising above the flat white sands, we’ll understand why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered a wonder of the western world. Begun 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, tidal island.
  • We return tonight to the Best Western Plus Le Moderne. Dinner this evening is at a restaurant of your choice in Caen (not included).
Day 8, September 29, Tuesday — CHÂTEAU DE BOUTEMONT, CHÂTEAU DU CHAMP DE BATAILLE
  • We start our last day of garden visiting at Château de Boutemont, a 16th century castle with a dry moat and drawbridges built on the site of a medieval fortress. The gardens were first created in the early 20th-century and after falling into disrepair, the current owners, Hélène and Armand Sarfati, have taken on a serious restoration. It is organized as a series of rooms with finely sculpted topiary and expertly placed sculpture plus a new Italian Renaissance garden where the kitchen garden used to be. There is also a chapel and various other charming outbuildings, a glasshouse, a formal pool, an orangery, and a courtyard. We’ll eat lunch in a cafe on our way to our final garden.
  • Château du Champ de Bataille is certain to delight anyone with a passion for formal design. Jacques Garcia, the French interior and garden designer, spent two decades restoring the château and its acres of gardens with such opulence that it is said to rival Versailles. However, the garden is not a reconstruction. Instead, Garcia made a contemporary garden with a classical structure saying that it is “. . . the inspiration of the moment expressed in eternal forms.” Our experience in this vast garden will remind us of the basic principles of formal French design.
  • We return tonight to the airport hotel we stayed in the first night, Novotel Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport Hotel. After we check in, we’ll gather for our Farewell Dinner (included).
Day 9, September 30 — DEPART FOR HOME
  • Our time together will come to an end but garden lovers find fresh inspiration wherever they are. Travelers may choose to return home or carry on the adventure.

PRICING

Tour price:

$4,300 (USD) per person for double occupancy
+ $1,000 (USD) per person for single occupancy

Tour price includes:
  • All 4-star hotel accommodations.
  • All breakfasts and 6 dinners.
  • Admission to all gardens including tips.
  • Comfortable coach transportation.
  • Friendly and knowledgeable professional tour coordinator.
  • Design and botanical expertise of your CarexTours leader.
Tour price excludes:
  • Airfare.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • All lunches, 2 dinners, drinks including water, and snacks.
  • Lunch & dinner on arrival and departure days.
  • Tips for driver & tour coordinator.
Payment schedule:
  • A $1,000.00 (USD) deposit is due when you book your tour.
  • Final payment, in full, is due on June 20, 2020.

NOTE: CarexTours offers thoughtfully arranged garden tours. Each tour is guaranteed to proceed as soon as the minimum of 10 reservations has been met. In the event that our reservation minimum is not met, CarexTours reserves the right to cancel the tour. Deposits/payments will be refunded in full if the tour is canceled.

Please DO NOT make your airline reservations until CarexTours has guaranteed (by email) that the tour will proceed.

4 STAR RELAXATION & COMFORTABLE COACH TRAVEL

Hotel Accommodations

After a day filled with garden inspiration and botanical discoveries, we will retire to the comfort of 4-star accommodations. Rooms are double occupancy with the option for a single room for an additional fee.

September 22: Novotel Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport
September 23 – 25: Hotel Château de Sissi in Sassetot-le-Mauconduit
September 26 – 28: Best Western Plus Le Moderne in Caen
September 29: Novotel Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport

Coach Travel

Daily transportation will be provided by a modern, comfortable coach operated by an experienced driver.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Responsibilities:

CarexTours, LLC is a limited liability company organized under the laws of the state of Maryland in the United States. CarexTours hosts this garden tour operated by Garden Tours. As the hosting organization, CarexTours provides reservation services and has chosen Garden Tours, a professional tour operator, as its designated tour operator. As the designated tour operator, Garden Tours arranges for the actual tour of the garden sites. Garden Tours also acts as an agent for services connected with specific tours hosted by CarexTours such as ground transportation, lodging accommodations, and meals. Each service provider is solely responsible to the participant for providing their respective services.

By making a reservation for a tour hosted by CarexTours, the participant certifies that she/he does not have any mental, physical, or another condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. CarexTours and Garden Tours, reserve the right in their sole discretion to accept, decline to accept or remove any participant on a tour hosted by CarexTours.

Price:

The tour prices in this agreement are based upon current exchange rates, tariffs, and taxes. Fluctuations in these rates could result in a price adjustment without prior notice until the tour is paid in full. Once the price for the tour is paid in full, the fee will not be adjusted due to any later change in exchange rates, tariffs or taxes.

Liabilities & booking conditions:

Garden Tours is established in the Netherlands, and rights and responsibilities for all tours operated by Garden Tours will be governed by Dutch and EU laws only. CarexTours and Garden Tours will have responsibility only for the proven negligent acts and omissions of its employees or agents and suppliers, subcontractors, servants and/or agents of the same while acting within the scope of or in the course of their employment in respect of claims arising as a result of death, bodily injury, or illness caused to the signatory to the contract and/or any other named persons on the booking form.

Smoking:

All participants in tours hosted by CarexTours agree to comply with a non-smoking policy on all coaches, in restaurants, and in all lodging places.

Liability:

CarexTours and Garden Tours have no responsibility or liability to any person for loss of baggage, money or other property whatsoever. CarexTours and Garden Tours have no responsibility or liability for any loss or additional expenses caused by delay or interruption to travel services through weather conditions (such as rain, wind or fog), civil disturbance, riot, illegal acts of third parties, strikes, wars, floods, sickness or any circumstances amounting to Force Majeure.

Complaints:

In the unlikely event that you have a complaint, you must promptly notify the CarexTours host or the Garden Tours tour coordinator directly, so he/she can take remedial action on the spot. If the matter cannot be solved directly, any complaints must be submitted in writing to CarexTours within 20 days after the date of your return.

Your tour canceled by us:

CarexTours aims to provide your tour as booked. We reserve the right to cancel your tour in any circumstances, but if we cancel your tour, except where this is because you have not paid, you will receive a full refund.

Changes in itinerary details:

CarexTours and Garden Tours strive to operate according to the published itinerary. However, in the event of unforeseen circumstances beyond our control or opportunities that would enhance the itinerary, adjustments may be necessary or appropriate. CarexTours and Garden Tours reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the agreed-upon itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants. CarexTours will let you know about any important changes as soon as we can if there is time before your departure. Otherwise, we will announce changes on the tour.

Cancellations:

If you need to withdraw from the tour for whatever reason, you must notify CarexTours in writing. Cancellation becomes effective when written notice is received. There will be no refunds from CarexTours on or after June 20, 2020.

Insurance:

Travel insurance is required in case you need to cancel your trip after June 20, 2020, you have health emergencies while on the tour, or other unforeseen issues arise. Squaremouth and Insure My Trip are two travel insurance search sites. If you are under 70 years old, World Nomads is usually an economical travel insurance choice. You will be required to provide evidence to CarexTours that you have obtained travel insurance by June 20, 2020.

To book this tour, contact Carolyn Mullet at camullet@gmail.com or 240 429 0889.

Your reservation will be secured after a deposit/full payment is received.

Deposit amount: $1,000 USD
Full payment: $4,300 USD per person (double occupancy)
Single occupancy: +$1,000 USD

Additional information about the CarexTours costs, including details about inclusions and exclusions, can be viewed on our pricing page.

PLEASE NOTE: CarexTours reserves the right to cancel the tour. Deposits/payments will be refunded in full if the tour is canceled.