We take a look at 5 absolutely stunning gardens to visit in Provence which are inspiring as well as beautiful. They’re all quite different, from classic to contemporary but they have one thing in common – they are truly magnificent and all are open to the public.
Chateau de Val Joanis Pertuis
Val Joanis is an area of 400 hectares including 100 vineyards with its heart in a castle, whose foundations are 16th century. The garden is set on a promontory surrounded by beautiful trees, some of which are over a century old.
With a preserved vegetable and fruit garden, the air is sweetly perfumed and visits are easy. Adjacent to the vineyard shop, this garden is available to visitors during the summer when the shop is open. Val Joanis offers wine in all three colours and regularly wins awards in wine competitions. Though we advise to consume wine in moderation, visiting gardens does not require the same care.
Suite Harmas de Fabre in Sérignan du Comtat
This really is an open air museum for all plant species in this part of the Mediterranean. These are the plants which the famous naturalist Fabre (1823-1915) studied. There are insect collections which he gathered with fervour, showcased in the house. Many of his writings became famous and were translated into several languages.
Couleur Garance in Lauris
In contrast, this is a very new garden thanks to the initiative of Michel Garcia and managed with the support of local authorities. The garden has a purpose: to gather in one place (downtown Lauris), on a wide open site in the Durance valley, as many plant species as possible which have played a role in the design and manufacture of dyes from earlier periods.
Jardin La Louve, Bonnieux
Bonnieux is one of the leading villages of the Luberon. A certain Peter Mayle is not far away, the Englishman who became famous with his best seller “A Year in Provence”.
Nicole Louve Vésian, a designer for the iconic French brand Hermès, created this spectacular garden filled with rosemary, germander, lavender, boxwood and all kinds of shrubs that somehow thrive in its stony landscape. Tours are available by appointment, but I don’t recommend it for those with a disability as there are many narrow staircases
Le Pavillon de Galon
Le Pavillon de Galon with its landscape lapping at the foot of the Luberon has a magnificent garden of four hectares brimming with vineyards, fig and cherry trees, lavender and more. It has become the flagship garden of Vaucluse. From here it is possible to see the steeple of the church of Cucuron one kilometer away. The garden is close to the well-known Provençal village which winds in on itself with its maze of narrow streets, while seeming so distant, it’s almost another world!
Over the years, the Pavillon de Galon became a member of the Association of Parks and Gardens in Provence-Côte d’Azur and received the distinction of “Outstanding Garden”. If you’d like to visit and you’re not a guest there (it’s also a boutique hotel) it’s best to do so by appointment.
A full list of Provence gardens available at: www.provenceguide.com
by French garden expert, Georges Lévêque