With so many beautiful gardens in France to chose from it is impossible to make a shortlist of the best. The gardens listed below are among expats favourites, but this list is by no means comprehensive—start here then find a gardens guide and continue your search to find your own favourites!
Considered the prototype French formal garden, or jardin à la française, (a style of garden based on symmetry and the principle of imposing order over nature) the Gardens of Versailles were originally designed by the landscape architect André Le Nôtre but ultimately became a collective work, modified several times during the reign of the Sun King.
Began as an experimental ground for the French classical garden and became a prototype of the public garden in Western countries, the Tuileries Garden was also created by André Le Nôtre.
Giverny was owned by the French artist Claude Monet, and made famous in his paintings. These gardens have two parts: a flower garden, Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. The Japanese Garden, with the famous bridge and pond of water lilies, was inspired by the Japanese prints collected by Monet.
This is the main botanical garden in Franc and a part of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. An Alpine garden has 3000 species with worldwide representation. Specialized buildings, such as a large Art Deco winter garden, and Mexican and Australian hothouses display regional plants, not native to France. The Rose Garden, created in 1990, has hundreds of species of roses and rose trees. Founded in 1626, originally as a medicinal garden, in 1640 it opened to the public.
The Comte de Buffon became the curator in 1739 and he expanded the gardens greatly, adding a maze, the Labyrinth, which remains today. In 1792 the Royal Menagerie was moved to the gardens from Versailles.
A French château and gardens in the town of Hautefort in the Dordogne. In the 17th century, the chateau was reconstructed and a Garden à la française was added. In 1853, the landscape architect, Count of Choulot, redesigned the gardens, adding a landscape garden, several geometric flower gardens, topiary gardens that copy the domes of the chateau, as well as a long tunnel of greenery. The gardens are listed by the Committee of Parks and Gardens of the Ministry of Culture of France as one of the Notable Gardens of France.
Joséphine, the wife of Napoleon, bought this run down estate with plan to transform it into “the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation”. She sought out interesting as well as rare plants and animals from around the world. An active and curious gardener, from 1803 until her death in 1814, Josephine cultivated nearly 200 new plants in France for the first time. The garden became perhaps most famous for its rose garden. Joséphine created an extensive collection of roses, over 250 varieties of roses collected from her native Martinique as well as from other places around the world.