Close to Langres, that lovely languid town in Haute-Marne, Champagne, not far from the border with Burgundy, is Cohons. It’s the only commune in France to boast two classified ‘Jardins Remarquables’.
Jardin de Silière
The Jardin de Silière is attached to a rather lovely 17th century mansion. The owner will tell you that the people of Langres used to come to this area to pick grapes including the famous philosopher Denis Diderot’s father!
The 3 hectare garden is of a formal style with fountains, statues and ponds. It’s very romantic, beautiful and tranquil and the design is attributed to France’s most famous gardener Le Notre (he designed the gardens of Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte). It’s a listed historical monument and won a major prize for restoration. You can take a guided tour with the charming owner, which takes around an hour, details: www.jardindesiliere.com
Jardin de Vergentière
By contrast the second remarkable garden in the town, the Jardin de Vergentière is big, rustic, vibrant and noisy when I went there, the sun was shining and a pond full of frogs were clearly loving it and croaking for all they were worth. 18 acres of garden with various styles including dry stone “hanging gardens” which pre-date the French Revolution. Climbing the stony paths to the top will provide wonderful views over the surrounding countryside and trees.
Here you’ll also come across the giant snails of Cohons. Enormous stone escargots will keep the whole family occupied climbing up for the views and running down again!
Espaliered fruit trees, a secret cave and ancient trees plus romantic walkways make for a lovely visit. You can take a guided tour and at certain times entrance is free. Details: parcsetjardins.fr