Because of the influence of the gulf stream, Normandy generally manages to avoid the most extreme cold weather (similar to the south west coast of the UK) and as a consequence flowers flourish in the area. Accordingly Normandy is famous for its gardens. The area is also blessed with some beautiful Châteaux that boast splendid gardens.
Best Gardens in Normandy
The ones we would recommend are:
Parc et Jardins du Château de Vendeuvre (near Falaise to the south of Caen) with some really unique and unusual features;
Jardins du Pays d’Auge (between Caen and Lisieux) notable for the traditional half timbered houses; Parc du Château de Nacqueville (north west of Cherbourg) close to the sea and offering delightful romantic gardens in addition to a splendid château;
Website: http://cambremer.free.fr/normandy/village/parcs_et_jardins.htm and http://nacqueville.com/
Jardin du Château d’Harcourt (south of Caen) – the château was totally destroyed in D Day fighting but the gardens have been restored and are particularly delightful in spring and summer, also there is a nice walk down the the river Orne with plenty of nooks and crannies for the youngsters to explore.
Château de Crevecoeur
Description: Surrounded by trees and moats, Château-de-Crevecoeur in the Pays d’Auge is a great place to visit. The medieval architecture is typical of the Normandy region with many of the buildings made from wood, in a style known as ‘half-timbered’, or ‘à pans de bois’ in French. In the barn there is an exhibition dedicated to the Schlumberger brothers, who invented and tested in the Pays d’Auge, a method of searching for oil which is now used worldwide. There are various other displays of medieval life.
Location: 30km east of Caen via the N13.
General Info: Open every day from April to September. Also open Sunday afternoons in October.
Our recommendations: Visit in early August when the medieval festivals are re-enacted (see website for details).
Château de Vendeuvre
Description: This is a family owned chateau which has enough to entertain the family for half a day (including a picnic lunch). The interior of the Chateau can be visited, to include the kitchens and a special exhibition of pet kennels!
Location: In the village of Vendeuvre, just west of the D511, 13kms NE of Falaise.
General Info: Musée et Jardin du Chateau de Vendeuvre, 14170, Vendeuvre The chateau is open from April to November, although with restricted opening in April, October and November. Prices are dependent on how much you wish to see in the Chateau and its gardens, so as a guide it will cost in the region of €8.50* for an adult to visit all the attractions and €6.50* for a child.
Recommendations: Take time to enjoy the many and varied different garden areas, especially the mazes and water gardens.
For the children: In good weather the children will enjoy playing in the expanse of the grounds and seeing the Miniature Furniture Collection – possibly more so for girls!
Description: The original Benedictine abbey of Jumièges was built in the 7th century and has been added to many times through the ages. The abbey has been dis-used since the French Revolution, today it is in ruins although some of the buildings are still remarkably intact. It is set in an impressive location overlooking a huge meander of the Seine.
Location: Situated on the north bank of the Seine, 30km west of Rouen.
General Info: Open all year, with no lunchtime closure from mid April-mid Sept. Adults tariff approx €5.00* and under 18’s free.
Our recommendations: Check with the tourist office for the possibility of visiting in the evenings during the summer when the abbey is illuminated, creating a magical atmosphere.
For the children: Plenty of space for them to run around on a fine day.
Description: This is the largest tropical garden in France, which not only contains lots of exotic plants (orchids, pineapple trees and bougainvilleas) but also many amazing butterfly species from around the world, making the whole visit a very colourful experience. Visitors can walk freely amongst the greenery while above their heads fly thousands of butterflies.
Location: On the northern edge of Honfleur town next to the town’s park and gardens with ample parking nearby. Boulevard Charles V, 14600 Honfleur.
General Information: Open early February to early December. Prices from around €8* and €6* with a family ticket for 2 plus 3 of around €30*.
Our recommendations: With an ambient temperature of 28 degrees this would be ideal on a chilly day when outdoor activities are not so appealing!
For the children: Something a bit different for them.
* please note that prices on this page are for guidance only and can change. Check the providers’ websites for latest information
Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to Normandy:
- Chateaux / Gardens
- D-Day Sites
- Food & Drink