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- An introduction to the wide range of gardens in French history, featuring visits to medieval monastic gardens, grand Renaissance estates, and intimate modern creations.
- Private gardens (several listed as ‘Jardin Remarquable’), many visits hosted by their owners, including Château de Miromesnil at Tourville-sur-Arques, birthplace of Guy de Maupassant.
- Le Jardin du Vastérival, residence of the late Princess Sturdza, containing one of the finest plant collections in France.
- Le Bois de Morville, created in 1982 by Pascal Cribier, one of the most important French landscape designers of his generation, and Le Bois des Moutiers whose surrounding gardens were designed by Edwin Lutyens in collaboration with the owner Guillaume Mallet and Gertrude Jekyll.
- The beautiful, unspoilt northern coast of Brittany with its deep-cut inlets and inland wooded valleys enjoys an exceptional climate due to the Gulf Stream; we explore the Jardins de Kerdalo with a rich collection of plants and the private manor house garden, Le Jardin du Pellinec.
- A journey ‘in the footsteps of the Impressionists’, to Monet’s garden at Giverny, the coast he painted at Belle Île, and the port town of Honfleur; the Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux (Le Havre) containing one of the most extensive collections of Impressionist paintings in France.
- Visits to major monuments such as the Abbeys of St-Georges de Boscherville and Mont Saint-Michel; Romanesque and Gothic Cathedrals such as Notre-Dame (Rouen) and St-Étienne (Caen).
- The megalithic site on the south coast of Brittany in Carnac, where we examine the largest Neolithic alignment in the world (3500-3000 BC).
- The Bayeux Tapestry Museum, containing the 11th-century embroidered cloth depicting the Norman conquest of England.
- Explore a rich variety of village architecture in a number of ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’ including the pretty half-timbered houses of Lyons-la-Forêt and Dinan, the walled towns of Vitré and Saint-Malo, and the charming washhouses of Pontrieux.
- Sampling of French regional produce with visits to local markets; tastings of Normandy’s Livarot, Pont l’Évêque cheeses, apple juice and calvados, and Brittany’s crêpes, seafood, the famous custard cake, ‘Far Breton’ and the ‘Kouign-Amann’ (cross between a croissant and a palmier).
- Fine dining in renowned restaurants including historic restaurant La Couronne, Rouen.
Overnight Rouen (5 nights) • Honfleur (2 nights) • Bayeux (3 nights) • Granville (1 night) • Auray (2 nights) • Perros-Guirec (2 nights) • Saint-Malo (2 nights)
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Early-Bird Special: Book before 31 March 2024