Famous for its lavender fields and swathes of poppies, vineyards and sunflowers, fragrant herb-filled shrub land and fruit orchards – Provence is a rainbow-coloured floral paradise. From the elegant to the grand and the wildly beautiful – these 5 gardens you can visit in Vaucluse are seriously gorgeous…
Jardin Remarkable – Val de Joanis
In the shadow of a stunning chateau on the wine producing estate of Val de Joannis, the classified gardens (Jardins Remarquable) are a dreamy snapshot of Provencal style gardening.
West of Pertuis, Val Joanis is set in an area of 400 hectares. There are 100 vineyards and at the heart of the gardens is a castle, whose foundations date to the 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 the gardens, inspired by bastide style gardens popular in the 17th century, feature tall cypress trees and lavender – quintessential representatives of Provencal’s natural beauty.
There’s also a wine shop where you can enjoy a tasting of the award-winning rosé, red and white wines produced here.
Best visited between April and November.
Jardin de la Basse Fontaine
In the pretty village of Puyméras, a few miles from the lovely town of Vaison-la-Romaine and facing the majestic mountain of Mont Ventoux, lie the gardens of Basse Fontaine. Classified Jardin Remarquable, the gardens cover more than 6000 sq metres. This botanical paradise contains more than 1500 plant species in ten gardens. They include a vineyard, olive grove, vegetable garden and Japanese style garden. Plus there’s a picnic area and play area for kids, as well as bird aviaries and a turtle park! There’s also a museum of 1000 ancient tools. This is a beautiful place to spend a few hours and a garden that the whole family will love.
Open from May to September.
Harmas of Jean-Henri Fabre
In Sérignan du Comtat, a short detour from the Roman town of Orange, you will find the wildly beautiful gardens of scientist Jean-Henri Fabre who lived here for almost 40 years. He was fascinated by the life of insects and many of his writings on the topic became famous and were translated into several languages.
The gardens are really an open-air museum for all plant species in this part of the Mediterranean. These are the plants which Fabre (1823-1915) studied. There are also insect collections which he gathered with fervour. They are showcased in the house alongside fossils and a collection of watercolours, books and many other fascinating nature artefacts. For the bicentenary anniversary of his birth, Fabre’s house, owned by the National Museum of Natural History, has been renovated with previously closed to the public rooms will reopen to the public in summer 2023.
The Rose Garden of Gérenton
At the rose nursery of Gérenton, a stone’s throw from the enchanting village of Bedoin at the foot of Mont Ventoux is an unusual and stunningly beautiful rose garden. More than 300 varieties of ancient roses are showcased here. They are planted to allow visitors to see how the roses look when they are growing rather than just in pots. With a superb show of flowers from May through to September, the organic range of roses are adapted to a Mediterranean climate and developed to be sustainable and robust. The gardens offer a riot of colours and intoxicating scent.
See the website for opening times: roses-anciennes-du-ventoux.com/
The Pope’s Garden, Avignon
In the shadow of the monumental, UNESCO-listed Palace of the Popes in Avignon at the heart of Vaucluse, visit the newly replanted gardens of Pope Urbain V. The former 14th century orchards were once had direct access from the Pope’s apartments and were an integral part of the palace.
Redeveloped in 2020, they are a tranquil little oasis in the city. The landscaped gardens and benches offering cool shade in the high walls of the Palace during summer months as you listen to the tinkling fountain. The new pontifical gardens are joined to the Jardin du Palais (Jardin Benoit XII),
Open year-round, free to enter.
Discover the gardens, flower markets and botanical outings of Vaucluse: provenceguide.co.uk/gardens